Last call: the story of an announced crisis

What’s the difference between big and limitless?

Imagine that you have at your disposal a container with an approximate diameter of 12.750 km, just like the Earth. It would be big, but not limitless. How many resources would it be able to provide, how many people would it be able to accommodate? Many but- again- not limitless.

It seems unbelievable, but this simple, enormous difference is the basis of a debate which has been lasting for more than forty years: Last call (2013), a documentary written and directed by Enrico Cerasuolo, retraces the path of this debate.

last call

It all begins with “The limit to growth”, the book that in 1972 shocked the contemporary busy, carefree, ever-growing world. The project was born thanks to Aurelio Peccei, an intellectual businessman and the founder of the Club of Rome. He had the intuition that the planet Earth was a finite system and an economic growth at full pace would lead both the society and the environment on the edge of collapse.

After this epiphany, most of the work was done: the problem was right under everybody’s eyes, what was left to do was joining forces globally and think about a new sustainable development system. That was the optimistic perspective all the book’s authors shared when it was published. Precisely through the evolution of their point of view, the documentary shows the chronicle of a controversy which have been characterizing the global history for decades.

Limits to growth group

Throughout the years, many international conferences on the environmental situation (eighteen between 1972 and 2012) took place and a long series of contradictory statements coming from governments and prime ministers have been released. Just few stay strong and coherent: economic powers are among them, stubborn and resistant to every form of change or common sense. Even when evidences showing that “The limit to growth” was right became more and more visible, even when two updated sequels were published: “Beyond the limits” (1992) and “Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update” (2004).

That’s why knowing that “Last call” is having success is encouraging. Selected to take part in several prestigious film festivals (the complete list is on the website), during its short life the documentary has already won many awards. Its first world preview took place at Cinemambiente 2013, where the film won the “House of Tomorrow Award”; since then, it has received the “Special Award” at Festival de Cine Verde de Barichara 2014 (Colombia), the “Award of the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management” at Life Science Festival 2014 (Czech Republic) and the “Environmental Award”, main prize at Cine Eco Film Festival 2014 (Portugal).

Many certificates of excellence that prove, once more, the dramatic modernity of the issue. The latest warning comes from the final report that IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), presented few days ago in Copenhagen. Summary of three previous researches, it definitely cautions the international community about new peaks of greenhouse gas emissions, sea level rising and global warming. Way beyond our limits, we are now close to the point of no return, where the existing climate change becomes irreversible.

In other words, the last call is coming from multiple direction. Now it’s time for us to react.