Among hot-button environmental issues, carbon trading perhaps doesn’t get the limelight as often as it should, as its one of the most environmentally (and socially) destructive practices going on today. Large (Western) corporations are allowed to emit set amounts of carbon, and if they wish to emit more than their allotted amount, they can “purchase” so-called carbon credits through “offset projects” like, say, planting a field full of eucalyptus plants in rural Brazil (the plants’ environmental benefits offset the increased carbon emission of the large corporation). However, as Amy Miller’s documentary The Carbon Rush is quick to point out, the single-minded and narrow focus on offset projects inevitably ignored the larger social and environmental costs they create (ie. those eucalyptus trees wiped out an entire village’s water supply; when locals protest, large corporations send henchmen to threaten and assault anyone who makes a fuss). The story is a familiar one: small communities are helpless in the fight against global profits.
While it demonstrates a commitment to its subject matter, the film’s execution lacks sophistication and structure. Too many disorganized sob stories from victimized communities (with the film occasionally slipping into a facile representation of the “noble savage”) yet the description of the complex policies and procedures by which the global carbon trade is allowed to function are basic at best. The pacing also proves confusing: from a rushed infographic back to another meandering tale of woe. The message is certainly not new, or contested: yet the film’s indictments are treated as though it’s breaking new ground, but it isn’t.
Is The Carbon Rush Essential Planet in Focus Viewing?
It depends. If you like to approach social and political issues with the complex context of policies and practices within which they exist, then don’t see The Carbon Rush. It’s inadequate. If you’re simply looking for a cursory introduction to the notion that global capital ruins lives (and you’re in the mood for hearing a bunch of sob stories), then go for it.
The Carbon Rush Screening Times
- Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:15 PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1
More About This Movie
The Carbon Rush Trailer
The Carbon Rush Production Gallery
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