Released in 2011, The Crisis of Civilization (IMDB) is a documentary film directed by Dean Puckett and written by Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed. The latter also penned A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, a book that served as the primary source material.
The project takes a no-holds-barred approach to examining various sources of calamity, using research and scientific date to back up each point. While the message of the film may be too controversial for some, the thoughtful and seemingly unbiased nature of the reporting should also win over its fair share of devotees.
The majority of the movie features Mr. Ahmed addressing the viewer, with each point illustrated by a combination of news footage, darkly humorous animation, and clips ranging from B movies to public service announcements. You shouldn’t expect to be dazzled on a visual level, but that was never the point of The Crisis of Civilization; the facts are more than sufficient to make you sit up and take notice.
The Five Greatest Threats to Our Civilization
Throughout the course of The Crisis of Civilization, the filmmakers examine the five biggest dangers facing the human race. These sobering topics paint a picture of a planet on the verge of collapse, and it’s difficult to come away from a viewing with much optimism.
While each is covered in greater detail within the documentary, here’s a basic overview of the subjects that threaten us all (hint: they don’t include topics like becoming increasingly obese, very important but gets too much media coverage relative to their impact to life).
Climate Change – Thanks to rampant use of fossil fuels, the temperature of the planet is slowly increasing. This has already led to a multitude of problems such as flooding, drought, and disease. According to a series of experts, these dire consequences are expected to intensify throughout the 21st century.
Energy – Our dependence on coal, natural gas, and petroleum has led to global warming, but it’s also started a desperate race to gather as much natural resources as possible. This rate of consumption cannot be sustained, which should force nations to either adopt alternative energy sources or suffer the consequences.
Food – Countries such as the United States waste a significant amount of food, while other nations can’t generate enough to adequately feed their citizens. As global warming causes additional droughts and a steady increase in the sea level, the challenge of feeding the world’s population is going to become even more difficult.
Economic Instability – The U.S. mortgage crisis of the 21st century is a good example of the economic dangers facing many nations. Companies adopt predatory practices in the quest to make even more money, and middle and lower-class citizens end up suffering for it. As resources begin to dwindle over time, this type of unchecked greed threatens to collapse economies and leave nations bankrupt.
Terrorism & Foreign Policy – There’s a long tradition of governments around the globe funding terrorist organizations in order to destabilize certain regions. When enough damage has been done, the same governments can then offer aid and reap the benefits of friendship in the form of the almighty dollar. Dealing with such extremists has its own perils, however, as the United States found out during the tragic events of 9/11 (which followed a long-term relationship between the U.S. intelligence community and al-Qaeda).
The Crisis of Civilization does an excellent job of pointing out the greatest dangers facing current and future generations. Based on the book by Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, the documentary benefits from having the author as host, writer, and co-producer. While the runtime of 1 hour and 22 minutes may not allow solutions to be discussed in as much detail as some viewers would like, the film remains a solid primer for anyone interested in helping the planet.