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Earth 2100 was terrible and it really shouldn't have been

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 4th 2009 5:03PM
Earth 2100On Tuesday night, ABC News aired a special: Earth 2100. It was to give us a speculative look at the next 90 years based on scientific analysis and scenarios. The idea was to "scare us straight" with the worst possible scenario, and it was certainly bleak. According to these experts the worst possible scenario has life as we know it eradicated, cities destroyed and the global population dwindling below 3.5 billion. The message is about the importance of taking care of our natural resources and doing something about our negative impact on the planet. Important stuff, yeah?

It took me a couple days to figure out how to write about it, because I really hated it and I wasn't even sure why. Maybe it was Lucy's fictional narrative, shown in static drawings instead of computer imagery or special effects. Telling us about the ocean levels rising and changing the map may have had more impact if you'd shown us that map? Hell, their image for the flooding of the subways was a photo of a subway tunnel with poorly layered running water where the tracks are. You're not going to scare people into changing with 1960s era effects.

Maybe I'm spoiled by The History Channel's Life After People and some of their stunning visuals, but I really thought a major broadcast network could have put some money into this program. While I was watching it, I was wondering if Bob Woodruff found this old newsreel story about Lucy and spliced it into Earth 2100.

Hell, the message might have come across better if they'd just dramatized Lucy's story completely. Hire some actor and use real special effects to showcase the world she's living in. Short snippets would have still been effective, but giving viewers a more realistic look at her world would have had more impact than the moving cardboard cutouts animation style they used.

I was glad to see that in the final fifteen minutes, they showed how things didn't have to be this way. I do think it's an important message to get out there, it just looks like ABC kind of dropped the ball on doing so. Luckily, according to the ratings reports, nobody was watching Earth 2100, so maybe someone else can give it another go. Maybe this time with sock puppets?

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This is a potential world my children will experience. You can call it fear mongoring and every other rhetorical partisan insult. Having studied climatology the only populace of people on this planet with any validity in this subject say this is not far from the reality they expect.. Only conservatives in this country are brazen to stand up to the entire scientific comunity and say "You are wrong". That would be the equivelant of My dog telling stephen Hawking to find a new job its just not working out. Listen to the giants of science we owe our world to their discoveries... If some one is viamenty opposing this concept chances are they have a vested interest in the status quo. History will prove the usual side correct.. It always has,,,

June 30 2011 at 3:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Say what you want about the delivery of the message. So far it is one of a few main stream programs to tackle this issue. I was always taught to criticize the message not the delivery. If your complaint is that you couldn't watch it because Pixar like characters didn't tell the story then you have no business reviewing scientific ideas and the methods used to educate the masses of these complex issues. The reality posed in Earth 2100 is a stark reminder that to this date no civilization has survived indefinitely. Every major civilization has perished most due to the over productivity of its population allowing uncontrolled growth.
This time the entire earth is in this state not just the Maya or the Egyptians.. There is no where to go we must change our ways or we will be changed. There are no examples in history that contribute to the notion of continuous growth without repercussion. China is catching up with us in terms of per capita consumption. This is going to lead to a fight of one kind or another. To quote Chamberlain "We have no permanent enemies nor friends, We have only permanent interests" Basses in Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan. If climate models are correct and I hope they are not. The fight is just about to begin and in the end the damage may be done.. I am sorry the cartoon didn't take your fancy. It's not only not important it's sad.

June 30 2011 at 3:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I, for one, was not impressed. This piece of journalistic garbage was filled with junk science, conjecture, and fiction. It seemed to be nothing more than globalist propaganda. Not surprising, given that Bob Woodruff is a globalist himself. The problem nowadays is that people are too stupid and will believe anything they see on television. Personally, I don't fear environmental catastrophe. What I truly fear is our out-of-control government intent on bankrupting and enslaving the citizenship in any way possible. They won't force you into FEMA camps; you'll gladly go.

June 07 2009 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to eBob's comment

You sir have missed the point.

June 30 2011 at 3:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Therese S.

I recorded the program to watch later. It isn't anything I am not already aware could happen, but it's scary to see it all in one program. For those people who think it's all a fantasy, fine. It's your descendents who will die, among others. Personally, I don't like the idea of being a senior citizen in a world gone crazy so I'm working on my own plan for survival and will also try to enlist the interest of my extended family in planning as best we can for continuity.

June 06 2009 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank Fittante

I am amazed at some of the comments about Earth 2100 and the fact that people still do not get the idea of what is happening to our planet, comments like I am glad I missed it, I would like my evening back, you missed nothing. Where in this series is this not a plasible situation for this planet. Scare tactics, maybe; but how else to you awaken those who still have their head up their butt and think it is all a joke.

Let's look at what Hawaii has become now and what it was just 50 years ago, or Alaska or even the USA. We put our trash in the ground and it produces methane gas, our oceans are polluted from all the sea dumping of trash and medical waste that some can't put into the sea, species of animals have become extinct, thank God for zoo's, do you not think these creations are not vital to our planet.

How many viruses and diseases have hit the planet with devastating effects, and think of the one's that are still hibernating so to speak that haven't awakend and only God knows what havoc they will bring.

I am from Niagara Falls, and I know the damage the Love Canal did to lives then and now. I am a Viet Nam veteran and again know what Agent Orange did to lives then and now.

We all need to face the facts that two plus two still add up to four.

June 06 2009 at 1:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
craig houchin

I liked Earth 2100. I liked the animation style and thought that the "special effects" were appropriate for that chosen style. But that is beside the point.

The message is what matters. The message is timely and, frankly, I was excited to see a corporate-funded network broadcast this program. For decades, this message has been relegated to the tributary networks of cable television.

I have been following this story -- the "we're destroying the earth as fast as we can" story -- for about four years now. I knew most of the commentators and have read their books. They have been speaking out on these issues for years, always on the fringe but moving closer to the mainstream.

Earth 2100 was, after nearly 40-years in the closet, the re-debut of these very important ecological issues on a mainstream stage.

Diddling about the animation style is just a cheap way to avoid the real conversation. If you missed it, I recommend that you find it and view it with your family. Our children will be living in the world we leave them.

Collapse nor Progress happen overnight. People need to work at it. Which direction are you pushing?

June 06 2009 at 11:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

ABC TVs "Earth 2100" Bias Bomb
ABC television dropped a cynical, eco-fringe-biased bomb with its two-hour "Earth 2100" Tuesday night program. The entrenched, partisan environmental lobby has, yet again, shown its dishonesty in this radical piece of Orwellian fear mongering by the mainstream media. Here the climate debate deniers spin apocalyptic scenarios from the musings of climate-crusading spokesmen, the progressive nonprofits and the partisan political vanguard. The rank duplicity and perverse manipulation of Earth 2100 would both shame and honor the propaganda of Gore and Goebbels.

Earth 2100 is a dark coming-of-age story told through the voiceover and eyes of "Lucy" -- a human cartoon character who is born in 2009, and who lives through the earth's chaotic demise from global warming during the 21st century. Intercut with the depressing victims of Lucy's dying environment of global ecological collapse, disease, food and water shortage wars and environmental refugees are the sanctimonious and utopian ecopolitical talking points of today's environmentalism. Not so subtly, all of this is to convince you that carbon control (not Islamic terrorism nor nuclear proliferation) is the most important problem facing man and earth's survival, and that you should vote for the global-green and Obama agendas. These are radical agendas for central government controls on critical energy development, costly carbon cap-and-trade taxes, carmakers, capital markets, healthcare, etc. Earth 2100 also promotes the fanciful theories of a new green economy, and an endless partisan list of smart ideas for government-enforced change in your lifestyles, culture and liberties. As is the practice in eco-propaganda, no mention of the cost/benefits of these progressive ideas is provided.

Ecopolitics have become the central front in the war on individual freedom and capitalism. 21st century environmentalism has abandoned scientific rigor because the packaging of partisan political narratives is a more powerful propaganda tool in an age of superficial pop-cultural politics and gullible media complicity.

June 06 2009 at 11:33 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to PAUL TAYLOR's comment
craig houchin


First off -- Hi.

It appears, at first glance, that we are on opposite ends of this debate. However, that should not preclude us from engaging in a civil and reasoned discussion.

Earth 2100 presented a "possible dark future." It also presented, at the end, a "possible brighter future." It could be one, the other, or neither. At this point, it is all still conjecture -- fiction.

To begin, let's find one thing that we can agree on. I think that one thing could be that, whatever the future may be, it is being written by you and I right now. It should not be a surprise or a point of contention that what we do today effects our tomorrow.

Now, since climate change seems to be your biggest disagreement, lets remove it from the discussion. It doesn't exist.

Let's say we could burn all the oil, natural gas and coal that we could get our hands on -- without consequence to the climate. There is still air, water and soil quality to consider.

It has been known since we first began powering our cities with coal that soot fouled the air and water and effected human health. It has been scientifically shown, as far back as the 1950s, 60s and 70s that auto and industrial air pollution from burning fossil fuels contaminates the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the even the soil in which we grow our food.

We recognized this problem and today, Los Angeles skies are cleaner than when I moved here 20-years ago. I hope you would agree that that is an improvement that helps everyone -- liberal and conservative alike.

Elsewhere in the world, this awareness has yet to take hold. So what? You could say. Let them choke on their own air. The problem is, China's air doesn't remain within China's borders. It travels to the U.S., and frankly, even if we tried we couldn't clean our own air fast enough to compensate for what's being blown in from abroad.

As for your argument that climate change is being used to draw attention away from terrorism and nuclear proliferation, I don't think that was the point, subtle of otherwise, of the program. Terrorism and nuclear proliferation are just as much a threat as is ecological destruction.

As the world-wide spreading of the current financial crises plainly points out, we are all interconnected. Drought, starvation and corrupt leadership in Nigeria flames rebellion, which disrupts business, which hampers oil production, which effects the price of gas in your car.

All of these issues are assailing us at once. It is not just Terrorism and neatly in line behind it nuclear proliferation, and behind that a neatly ordered myriad of other problems facing us as a nation, and us as a global community. We can't pick them off one at a time, while the others patiently wait their turn.

As for your claim that the program pushed a particular agenda, I didn't see that -- and I thinks that's the problem. I haven't see any agenda put forward by anyone that will fully handle the problems we face. Bitching and complaining and calling names is easy. Both sides, liberals and conservatives have mastered that response.

What we need are real solutions and effective responses to these challenges. I don't care if they come from the right, the left or from Mars. We need some ideas and we're going to have to look beyond the boundaries of our current ideologies.

The right and the left, the conservative and the liberal, the capitalist and the socialist have each, over the years, had their chance and yet -- here we are, under siege by pressures and threats that we have seen building for centuries. We can't keep trying the same tired solutions and expect a different outcome.

And, if you are concerned about the government's response or lack of -- do it yourself. That's what will ultimately be required anyway. We -- you and I -- must respond to these issues personally, as individuals and as part of a community.

If Brazil destroys it's rainforest, its people will go elsewhere. If Mexico collapses, politically or environmentally, its people will go elsewhere. So far, that elsewhere has been here. The problems of the world will find us and our lifestyle, culture and liberties will be impacted.

You seem to have thought all of this through so I sincerely ask you -- what is your solution? What is your plan? I am open to all good ideas.

June 06 2009 at 1:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

How about the fact that the whole 'frog boiling' thing is apocryphal and not a hint of what a frog would really do?

June 05 2009 at 3:48 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment

I have done this experiment and a frog will not realize it is boiling until it is too late... Fact.. It senses the change in temp and if that change is slow enough before long the frog is dead and all it had to do was jump out.. BIO 101 at most universities cover this very early on.

June 30 2011 at 3:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually thought it was alright, yes it was rather cheesey, but its the younger generation that will be more effected by it, they should have more WALL-E~esque type programs to "scare em straight." animations work. anyway people need to realize that resources are scarce and it really will take another major disaster or crisis for people to make changes which will be too late, Earth 2100 at put that into light atleast.

June 05 2009 at 12:25 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Wayne Dunham

I would like my evening back! What a colossal waste of time filled with fear mongering and useless, inaccurate information.

I especially loathed the ending where they basically said if we all hugged and threw away our cars we'd all be part of a utopia that is unimaginable. I fully expected to see Barney start narrating as his "I love you, you love me" theme song played in the background.

June 05 2009 at 8:38 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Wayne Dunham's comment

An ostrich is still in danger no matter how deep its head is buried in the sand. The question is what if they are right how much will that cost vs doing nothing. The dutch have a 200yr plan to deal with this issue and they have 800 yrs experience battling the ocean.. I'd listen to the Dutch.

June 30 2011 at 3:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Delphi's comment

THEY ARE RIGHT and if we are too stupid to help in this endeavor then we have no business being here, there are technologies out there and we just need to implement them, even if it is 1 person at a time , sure affordability is in question but if we have people with know-how they can teach the rest of us and so on, each person has the knowledge of something that can be taught to another and that is all we really need is each other and stop all this war crap and JUST HELP ONE ANOTHER AND TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE THIS PLACE WE CALL HOME BETTER, BUT WE CAN ONLY DO IT ALL TOGETHER.

February 17 2012 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

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