When I talked with Leila Conners Petersen on August 8, 2007, the thing I most wanted to discuss was how her film, THE 11TH HOUR, >wasn’t< a rehashing of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. Both deal with humankind’s effect on the environment, but Petersen and her filmmaking partners, Nadia Conners and Leonardo DiCaprio, wanted to do more than cover old ground, they wanted to offer concrete solutions. And I wanted more information about one group highlighted in the film, the Bioneers, that exceptional group of innovative thinkers who have come up with ways to heal the planet by working with nature instead of against it. Other topics included how mushrooms can save the world, growing a film organically, and the mythic quality represented by the power of oil.
With the exception of Leonardo DiCaprio, who produced and hosts this trenchant and occasionally lyrical documentary, you might not remember the names of everyone involved in the extended dialogue that makes up THE 11TH HOUR. It doesn’t matter. The ideas they expound, and the passion they exude, will remain indelibly etched in your mind. Their goal isn’t just to rehash the environmental ills of the world, global warming, toxic pollution, et als, but rather, to put them in context, and then to offer solutions that are radical in their simplicity and their concept. That they are also eminently achievable without sacrificing either a robust economy or the high standard of living currently enjoyed in the First World isn’t just radical, it’s sublime.