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'The 11th Hour' Warns of Environmental Collapse


The new documentary "The 11th Hour' sounds the alarm over global warming and offers insight into the causes and effects of global pollution.

The documentary starts with news footage of hurricanes raging, floods taking homes, people drowning. Others, on their rooftops, are pleading for help. These images are not new. Nor is the message they evoke: extreme weather phenomena can destroy human life. Like the Oscar winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," "The 11th Hour" warns against global warming. But the focus goes beyond climate change. It deals with the human dynamics that contributed to these changes since the industrial revolution.

To do that, movie directors Nadia Conners and her sister, Leila Conners Petersen, interviewed more than 50 scientists, ecologists, authors, professors and other experts on climate change. One of them is environmentalist Kenny Ausubel. Ausuber says that human society exploits nature to such a degree that it risks depleting it. He says, if people continue to live at odds with narure, their existence is at stake.

Leila Conners Petersen says as challenging as it was to gather all these interviews it was not difficult to convince these people to give their input on global warming. "A lot of them felt an urgency about the situation just like we did," she says. "And the fact that Leo was involved they felt 'Oh my Gosh! Now, we're going to be heard!'"

"Leo" is none other than actor Leonardo Di Caprio. He is the producer and the presenter of the movie. Standing in front of a mountainside, Di Caprio is warning the end of a healthy planet is near.

Scientists such as Patrick J. Michaels, senior fellow of environmental studies at Cato Institute, disagree.

"We (climatologists) know, I think to a pretty small range of error, how much it's gonna warm in the next 20 to 50 years or so," he says. "It's not that much. It will be about eight tenths of a degree Celsius or so. To spin that into the end of the world story is absurd. It stands history on its head," he notes.

The scientists who warn against global warming are as vocal as global warming doubters. They say time is running out and change has to occur on all social levels, from the administrations to the corporations to the local communities right down to the individual. In spite of its doomsday scenario, filmmaker Nadia Conners says the film ends with a message of hope.

"It is a very hopeful time," she says. One of our favorite lines in the film -- the Paul Hawken line, 'What an incredible time to be born -- because it's this generation that gets to change this world.' And everything that we do has to be redesigned."

Although not the most visually exciting film, "The 11th Hour" has a sobering effect. At the same time, it inspires the viewer to get up from his seat and go do something to make this a better world .

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