You might not find Michael Ruppert as much fun as Michael Moore. You might find parts of Collapse, the film in which director Chris Smith draws him out about his views of the impending violent downsizing of industrial civilization, less persuasive than other parts.
But even those who find veins of material in the 82-minute interview with Ruppert less than credible find them gripping. At the very least he provokes thought about the "collapse" of our way of life and how we ought to be preparing for it. The New York Times called the film, which was screened at the International Film Festival in Toronto last September, "Shockingly persuasive... Unexpectedly moving."
What happens when vital natural resources, from water to oil to arable land to copper, run out at the same time? That's the issue at the heart of the film and of Ruppert's book, Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World. A sample from the book:
"Electric cars sound nice, but electricity is not an energy source. It must be generated from energy. The idea of using water as a fuel source [in hydrogen-fueled cars] is not rational. The world—especially as a result of climate change—is running out of water for drinking and irrigation. Drought is ravaging most of the climate. Glaciers are melting."
Also in the book, Ruppert reprints "Eating Fossil Fuels" by Dale Allen Pfeiffer. A sobering excerpt: "Between 1945 and 1994, energy input to agriculture increased 4-fold while crop yields only increased 3-fold. Since then energy input has continued to increase without a corresponding increase in crop yield. ...modern agriculture must continue increasing its energy expenditures [even as petroleum supplies begin to dwindle] simply to maintain current crop yields. The Green Revolution is becoming bankrupt."
Collapse will be screened at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro May 8, 9, 15 and 16. Each screening is at 4 p.m. On May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Brattleboro Union High School auditorium, Ruppert will be on hand to give a talk that will likely touch on what he calls "the new human paradigm," in which "everything will be local."
Ruppert is a former narcotics investigator with the Los Angeles Police Department. He is also the author of Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil, and the founder of the online newsletter From the Wilderness, now succeeded by www.mikeruppertblogspot.com.