“How much crude oil is in our food?” is the question raised by Michael Pollan (The Botany of Desire). His calculations show that the production of a hamburger uses the equivalent of a 20 km (12 miles) car drive. The oil is mainly used for producing fertilizer for the production of fodder, as well as for transportation and agricultural machinery.

Oil is the also the subject of Collapse, an “intellectual horror movie, which makes other political documentaries look like episodes of Teletubbies” (Variety). The protagonist is Michael Ruppert, a one-time drug squad officer and CIA agent, now a blogger. In 2006 he predicted the financial crisis in detail, now he is prophesising the collapse of our civilisation.

Whether you believe Ruppert or not, astonishingly you listen to him for 82 minutes. Director Chris Smith, who in 2004 presented his movie “The Yes Men” in the Panorama, gives a convincing performance with a strict form. Ruppert, sitting on a chair in a bunker-like room, chain-smokes and argues; “It is impossible for humanity to continue to consume and grow without limits on a limited planet. …When we run out of oil, everything will shut down, transportation systems, the food industry, police and prisons…”.

He spices up his apocalyptic visions with sarcasm. For the purpose of survival, it is not absolutely necessary to be the fastest. If a bear attacks a camping site you just have to be able to run faster than the slowest camper. Ruppert advises those who escape to grow their own food on clean soil.

Whether we want it or not, “Soil Not Oil” is the future.
by Chris Smith USA 2009 82’

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