Thursday, February 11, 2010

Payap Reel schedule

At Payap Reel on Thursdays at 5 pm – Room 419, Pentecost Building

At Payap Reel on Thursdays at 5 pm – Room 419, Pentecost Building.


The Film Series Payap Reel is a community project which screens films/ documentaries on regional issues, social awareness, and international topics.


"Payap Air": A Season of Five Free Films on the Atmosphere, Biosphere, and Society – continuing today!

Every Thursday from 21 January, through 18 February from 5 - 7:30 pm.


"Payap Air" is a Payap Reel film series, and is shown in Room 419, Pentecost Building (formerly the Graduate and International Studies Building), at Payap University, Mae Khao Campus (behind Carrefour). It’s a presentation of the Office of Global Awareness at Payap University, in collaboration with the Northern Climate Crisis Network (NCCN), organized by Steve Green and Ricky Ward. Telephone for further information at084-985-9668.


Each screening will be followed by an opportunity for discussion, facilitated by a member of the NCCN.




"Every empire finds a way to destroy itself."


The films: Home – Jan 21;

Crude Impact – Jan 28;

The Power of Community – Feb 4;

Blind Spot – Feb 11 (this afternoon); and

What a Way to Go – Feb 18.


At Payap University Thursday, February 11 (this afternoon), 5 pm:  Blind Spot (2008) by Adolfo Doring – 86 mins – US, Documentary. An intellectually dense, but utterly gorgeous, look at mankind's dangerous obsession with fossil fuel.

Adolfo Doring is an award-winning American documentary filmmaker (The Trial of the St. Patrick's Four (2006), Karaoke Man (2003)) and a director of music videos.


Blind Spot investigates the causes for the current crisis we find ourselves in. It establishes the inextricable link between the energy we use, the way we run our economy, and the effect it has had on our environment. It takes as a starting point the inevitable energy depletion scenario know as Peak Oil to inform us that by whatever measure of greed, wishful thinking, neglect, or ignorance, we are at a crossroad which offers two paths, both with dire consequences. If we continue to burn fossil fuels our ecology will collapse, and if we don’t, our economy will. Either path we choose to take will have a profound effect on our way of life. Refusing to whitewash this reality, Blind Spot issues a call to action, urging us to face up to the perilous situation we now find ourselves in so that we might begin to envision a realistic, if inconvenient, way out.


Our World, Carol Smith: The hard fact presented is that when (not if) peak oil happens, “it will change virtually everything about how we live in the modern world.” The interesting twist to this documentary is that the psychological aspects of how we got here are also brought to light. The film shows how we have been so conditioned by a society centered on an oil-based economic system that we are now simply creatures of habit, constantly consuming while ignoring the implications, which we relegate to a dark corner of our mind. Quite a fabulous fantasy!


Not long into the film, it becomes surprisingly clear just how constructed and naïve our dependence on oil has been. This is thanks to a poignant clip from Oil for Aladdin’s Lamp, a Shell Oil infomercial-like film made in 1933 and revised in 1949. “The story of petroleum’s place in food runs from the field to your refrigerator,” the fatherly narrator tells us, going on to proudly enumerate how oil is used in everything from the pesticides sprayed on crops, to chemical refrigerants, to the transportation of our food. “The machine age, which has given us a matchless standard of living, would never have been possible without oil.” And it is with such a mindset that we have lived for 150 years, Blind Spot reminds us. As the film continues however, the data and expert analyses of eminent academics contrasts naggingly with that pretty picture. Soon the viewer begins to see the logic of the question begged by the film’s tagline: What if all the expectations you have about the future are completely wrong? “The principal concern here is that we’re not really prepared for declining oil production,” says Lester Brown, influential thinker and founder of the Earth Policy Institute. “It’s going to change almost everything we do, almost every facet of our lives, and every sector of our society.”


The question then becomes: what does it take for us to begin to confront the reality that the cost of oil (and all that depends on it) will be climbing out of the price-range of average folk? And we’re not talking distant future anymore, the audience is reminded. The US reached its peak in 1970 and its production has been declining ever since. “The same is going to happen to the world as a whole,” states peak oil expert Richard Heinberg. “No one disagrees about that. There’s some controversy as to exactly when that’s going to happen, but everyone agrees it will happen.” Our days of refusing to think about oil dependence are numbered, Heinberg reminds us. “The 20th century was all about using more of the stuff and it was the great petroleum fiesta — one time only in the history of our species. The 21st century is going to be all about how that party winds down.”


The film does not shy away from the view that a post-oil world without preparation could be extremely difficult. “The immediate problem I see for our future is the great difficulty in maintaining the standard of living that people in industrialized nations are accustomed to and the political and social unrest that may follow from this,” opines anthropologist and historian Joseph Tainter, author of The Collapse of Complex Societies. Another chillingly accurate observation on Western society comes from Matt Savinar of “You’ve got an entire generation that’s been brought up in a completely artificial environment where their beliefs have been shaped by television, which is designed to sell things like huge SUVs, and by movies that are completely disconnected from reality.” Further complicating the attempts to focus people on preparation, says an evolutionary biologist, is the cultural constraint on change in developed societies. People have a very strong faith in a system that’s been working fine for generations and so “those who challenge it are essentially putting themselves outside of their own culture.” “Why don’t we understand the ecological facets of our predicament and of life in general?” asks sociologist William R. Catton, author of Overshoot. Preoccupied with the economic and political aspects of our society, we’ve allowed ourselves to be self-interested parts of a system in which economic expansion equals progress.

Graph from


Though an explicit accounting of how declining oil production is certain to rock the world as we know it, the film does not leave the viewer feeling doomed. Rather, one feels refreshingly aware of the challenge ahead, if not a little angry at oneself and the system we’ve fallen into. This newfound alertness is crucial because the majority of people “have faith that somebody intelligent is looking at these things, and that isn’t a justified faith,” says physicist and author Albert Bartlett. Further, we’ve got to open our eyes to the politics and lies, says Terry Tamminen, former head of the California EPA, and author of Lives Per Gallon: “Over the last 10-12 years, oil and auto companies have spent $186 million on campaign contributions at the federal level. And for every one of those $186 million, they’ve gotten back $1,000 in tax breaks and other subsidies.” From there, it’s a matter of using the innate creativity and ingenuity of our species to find ways to “power down” and transition away from our current fossil fuel mega-consumption. … For such action to take hold, people need the facts. Hopefully many will watch this compelling film. And for those who don’t watch Blind Spot, let’s hope world leaders will begin to step forward and do what the scholars and activists did in the film: just point to the statistics. “We’re enormously smarter than we were before the Age of Oil,” points out American politician, scientist, and peak oil activist Roscoe Bartlett. We will therefore be able to work out a way to live happily beyond the Age of Oil. If we check our blind spot, that is.


Noam Chomsky: Doubtless Peak Oil will come; the timing is a matter of debate. However we may be better off if it is not too long delayed, because it will accelerate what must be done to prevent environmental catastrophe.


Bill McKibben, author of “The End of Nature”: The next few decades aren’t going to look like the last few - not at all. And the sooner we come to terms with that, the better. This documentary is a good place to start.



At Payap University Thursday, February 18, 5 pm:  What a Way to Go (2007) by Timothy S. Bennett – 123 mins – US, Documentary.A middle-class white guy comes to grips with Peak Oil, Climate Change, Mass Extinction, Population Overshoot and the demise of the American lifestyle.


IMDb viewer: I gave this movie 10 out of 10 not because it is a great documentary or because it is written so well or because of the editing, etc. but because it contains the most important information that you may ever find in a documentary! This does not mean it is a pleasant experience. On the contrary, I don't think most people can handle what this movie has to say. It is an unflinching look at the dominant culture currently in place on Earth and how we are on a collision course with the destiny of our own making.


This movie is similar to An Inconvenient Truth in that it discusses climate change but it also talks about Peak Oil, Population Growth, and Mass Extinction. Do you think that this is all bullsh*t? See the movie, read up on the people who were interviewed and what they have to say. Read Ismail by Daniel Quinn, read anything by Derrick Jensen. Make up your own mind, talk to people about what this movie has to say.


This is the most important thing you can do with you time. Drop everything, find a copy of this movie, and watch it now! No, I'm not associated with the film-maker. I just watched this film and it blew me away!



Map of Payap and location of the film series





Here on this map from May 2008 the Pentecost Building, where the “Payap Air” film series is being shown, islabeled as "Graduate and International Studies." Just northwest of the Chapel.

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