Saw 3D," a horror film> produced by Lions Gate Entertainment, was the top movie at the box office this weekend, although I skipped it, as I do most scary movies, psychological thrillers and haunted houses.
What really frightens me -- as both an investor and a citizen of the plant -- is eco-horror, a genre of storytelling now seen in fine art galleries, movie theaters and basic cable. Right now, there's a prime example on display inside the
. There, illustrators Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones have digitally manipulated photos to portray a variety of well-known British settings overrun with environmental or humanitarian disasters.
Thanks to rising water tables supposedly prompted by global warming, the square outside London s Parliament and Palace of Westminster has been
a filthy rice patty with destitute peasants wallowing in the mud. Londoners diet is [now] largely rice-based, predict the artists.
In another, miles of a decrepit shanty town overtake London s streets, right up to the gate of Buckingham Palace as the climate refugee crisis reaches epic proportions.
The city s iconic Gherkin skyscraper, known as the headquarters of Swiss Re and other well-heeled financial firms, is reimagined as a tenement slum. The goal, according to the artists, is to frame the climate change debate in a way that everyone can understand. They call the series Postcards from the Future.
On television, similar themes are explored in much greater detail. For example, "Life After People," a 2008 History Channel documentary and series, contemplates an Earth without mankind. Using computer-generated effects, we see the Eiffel Tower collapse after decades of neglect.
A wild tiger prowls through the overgrown lawns outside a derelict White House. The Chicago skyline, not to mention the Statue of Liberty, are pictured as empty rotting carcasses overrun with moss, insects and viral animals.
The show remains the network s highest rated program ever.
National Geographic aired a similar series called Aftermath: Population Zero , in which we again see wild animals running through the abandoned streets of large cities and forests, reclaiming areas where bridges and shopping malls once stood. In a not-so-subtle nod to the horror genre, the series began its delusional nightmare on Friday the 13th of an unspecified year.
EXTERNAL OBJECT PLACEHOLDER: src=http://www.youtube.com/v/Rh-lqtxZisA?fs=1&hl=en_US height=385 width=480
More then just disturbing, the images border on degenerate. The producers clearly delight in showing mankind regressing, in picturing modern civilization having been abandoned to the chaos and deadening silence of a pre-industrial world.
Nearly all eco-horror, especially mainstream films like "The Day After Tomorrow," "Sunshine" and "The Happening," follow the same narrative arc. Like the promiscuous teens stalked by Freddy Krueger after going all the way, mankind typically receives its comeuppance for its unabated use of the Earth's resources, especially fossil fuels.
What s most troubling and disingenuous is that in nearly every example of "eco-horror, it is Man s productive ambition, for everything from dams to housing developments, that s blamed for society s collapse.
Yet, objectively, we know just the opposite is the case. The most industrialized countries have the longest life spans and most wealthy inhabitants. The factories, plants and smokestacks that green zealots charge with endangering humanity have actually improved the human condition.
Burning gasoline to travel to grocery chains like Whole Foods and Kroger (KR)
Eco-horror films depict nightmarish scenarios without these services, but those scenarios are already commonplace in societies without industry. For the most part, starvation and disease weigh disproportionately on underdeveloped nations.
The bottom line is that, unlike the tiger or tarantula, humans must use and alter the Earth in order to exist on it where they do today. Even the most primitive tribe cannot survive without fire in the cold.
The market seems to agree. Two years ago, we urged you to sell short the then recently launched iPath Global Carbon ETN, calling carbon trading the ultimate rigged game. Since then, shares have dropped nearly 50%.
On the economic front, any delay or demise of cap-and-trade is an encouraging sign. If human civilization is going to prosper, it will be the industrialists leading the charge towards a brighter tomorrow, despite the best efforts of the environmental movement to keep us stuck in the Dark Ages.