Lessons From WALL-E and AL
One of best movies of the summer hasn’t a bit of traditional dialogue in it for the first 40 minutes yet its multiple messages are perfectly communicated.
WALL-E, from Pixar and Disney, is set on a derelict post-apocalyptic Earth that has been over-burdened with smog, heat and trash. A little robot and his cockroach sidekick are seemingly the only survivors while the humans have relocated to a sterile, Disney-esque space station. Love – between two machines – and a lone seedling eventually save civilization.
(Apologies if I’ve spoiled the ending but I find it hard to believe there’s anyone who doesn’t know going in that this tale will end happily. See: Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, etc., etc.)
The-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it doomsday scenario is lovingly embellished with artifacts collected by Wall-E from our ruined civilization – a Rubix Cube, Zippo lighter, Christmas lights and, most charmingly, a snippet of tape from Hello Dolly – that he enjoys and so do we. It’s a poignant pleasure however, a reminder of all we have to lose.
The day after I saw WALL-E, Al Gore delivered his speech at Constitution Hall in Washington on renewable energy. See a highlights video or read the full text in which Mr. Gore succinctly defined the problem – “We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet.” Then he did what no politician has had the courage to do since JFK called upon the ingenuity and perseverance of our nation to land a man on the moon in 10 years.
Mr. Gore’s challenge is equally clear – a transition to 100% renewable clean electricity within 10 years. It’s doable, Gore insists. “The sun and the wind and geothermal are not going to run out, and we don’t have to export them from the Persian Gulf, and they are not increasing in price.”
It will take every bit of inventiveness and dedication that we, as a nation, can muster – from each one of us.
Wall-E did it. So can we.