Movingpictures 21: This Machine Absorbs Carbon

As it often does, my shuffle function tuned into something in the air the other day, after Tipping Point Newcastle, and up popped a version of this song.  It is a great work about man-made environmental change, that does not go in for heavy lecturing, but has a warmth and humour about it. But pay proper attention to the words and the tone of Guthrie's voice and there is plenty of human heartbreak there too. (This video also has plenty of that in the photos.) Be sure that someone somewhere is saying goodbye to friends right now as a result of how we 'manage' the environment.

At Tipping Point, in a conversation about 'Reasons to be Cheerful', I wondered what positive, even comedic depictions of environmentalism or climate change existed, and the group collectively scratched our heads. Someone did suggest The Waltons, which I will happily admit to loving as a kid and even now. (I felt a bit alone in that, I'll admit - suffice to say I think The Waltons has a deceptive surface, and suffers from the same misunderstandings that something like 'Born in the USA' does.) There is a strong connection between Guthrie and The Waltons, not just in their general sense of social decency, and heavy artistic leanings in some characters, but specifically in Grandpa Walton. Will Geer, who played the character, worked with Guthrie touring labour camps in the 1930s, and spent the McCarthy years blacklisted as a result of his political activism and refusing to testify to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

There must, though, be more recent examples people can think of of positive depictions of balanced living?


  1. My suggestion for a positive/comic depiction of the issues aruond sustainable living: Pixar's Wall-E.

  2. Thanks Benjamin. I've had that recommended, but never seen it. (My Pixar peak now passed as the kids have grown.)

    Another suggestion that came in via email was - and i don't know how we missed this - The Good Life.


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