I love sci-fi movies. Get me a sci-fi book and it shall go on top of the list of awesome gifts I have received. As I watch these movies they unveil scenarios and realities that I know I will not live to see. The future is beautiful, I am jealous in some ways and in other ways I am not.
I want to experience levitating cars and trains (and with Japan’s maglev train that can travel at speeds of 500kmh that may be something I possibly see in my lifetime-YES!). I want to see a utopia where people are equal, where one has enough. Where we don’t have brands. It indeed would be a better change from the inequality rife in today’s world.
But other realities depicted in these movies describe dystopias that are brought about by the excesses of present day systems. The running theme in the Hunger games is an uprising of the marginalized societies who are worked to the bone for the comforts of a central urban upper class shielded from the knowledge of the sacrifices made to supply their comforts. This is visible on a global and on a local scale. Locally, we have the poor rural farmers in developing countries still struggling to make ends meet while urbanites are fed and healthy. Globally we have the play of the developed versus the developing countries. Resources get extracted and sent to developed lands for processing, cheap sweatshop labour in the Asian peninsula to supply clothing, etc. But unlike the movie we have no mocking jay. At least not one that is powerful enough….yet.
Another scary theme through multiple sci-fi movies is that of total environmental destruction such that new extra-planetary frontiers shall have to be discovered/engineered for habitation. That or creation of domes of controlled climate protecting inhabitants from the harsh atmosphere of future earth. This is a reality that is drawing closer and closer to the present. The result of 3 centuries of industrialization powered by the burning of fossil fuels has left our globe hotter than ever before. Natural disasters are increasing in frequency leaving millions of people homeless, hungry and powerless to climate change. Yet we still burn fossil fuels. High on the draw of cheap energy, firms are pushing forth research in a bid to realize more innovative ways of extracting more far flung, non-conventional fossil fuels, fracking being the most controversial. The blame lies squarely on the propagation of capitalism as a valid model of economic growth. A model still followed today despite the obvious downsides of the system-larger percentage of the population falling under the poverty line, a smaller number of people controlling the globe’s wealth and the low rank of our planet against colossal profits.
What do the sci-fi movies tell me about the future? That tomorrow is happening today.
I realize my generation is unmoved by this reality. Especially those of us resident in developing countries around the world. The growing percentage of unemployed, disillusioned youth will not think of the environmental footprint a new cement factory will have. Their consideration is only for the new jobs it will bring them. My government will not forego the promise of future royalties from fossil fuel extraction. The situation seems hopeless but first stage is education. The people need to know of the consequences of it all.