Built more like an education module than a documentary, Carbon Nation might make you nostalgic for those blissful days when the substitute teacher slapped on a science video and hid in the faculty lounge. Director Peter Byck opted for corny graphics, a wall of statistics, a voice-of-God narrator, and a xylophonic score, but behind the infomercial presentation are solid ideas that warrant scrutiny. Byck focuses on the energy crisis from outside the global-warming debate, homing in on its moral, economic, and national-security imperatives and identifying some increasingly viable solutions. Alternative energy sources — algae, wind, and geothermal — are showcased, but Carbon Nation is most persuasive when it focuses on the individuals using those supplies in their communities. A segment on Grid Alternatives, an organization that enlists the underemployed to install solar panels in poor neighborhoods, exemplifies the film's drumbeat maxim: A green economy is a labor economy. Some of the proposals — getting truck drivers to turn off their engines while they sleep, painting rooftops white — seem infuriatingly obvious. Yet the clean-energy pioneers depicted in the film underscore the idea that countering the brainlessness of so much of our current oil-guzzling, overconsuming behavior with inversely compelling, eco-friendly no-brainers is a strategy with not only economics but also human nature on its side.
Recommended For You
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!