If you were to completely change the world, what would it look like? The Choice Is Ours presents their take on their ideal world.
by Portia Ladrido
In the month of May, there have already been three widely reported bomb explosions supposedly carried out by violent extremists in England, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This certainly does not include the numerous attacks in underreported countries where bloodshed is norm.
As we watch the news and scroll down our social media feeds about what is happening to the world, we, more often than not, see a seemingly increasing amount of cruelty perpetuated by humans to each other. How did we even get to this point? A point of irrational and inexplicable anger, hatred, and distrust towards one another.
Whilst it is very easy to come to a resolve that the world is doomed to fail, there are those that recognise the redeeming power of the human spirit. The Choice Is Ours is a documentary about The Venus Project, an organisation that presents a plan for social change that works towards a harmonious and sustainable civilisation across the world. It explores the root causes of how we’ve come to where we are today – from the behaviours that drove humans to elevate people of power to the factors that continuously harm our environment.
The documentary does not only display the good that the project can do, but also presents the challenges that nations face day to day brought about by the varying environments for which individuals have been born into. Thoughtful consideration of capitalism, the media, and criminal justice systems was rampant from start to finish. All discussions pointing towards these systems being tools that the political and economically elite control.
Strong insights from American futurist Jacque Fresco and the founder of The Venus Project are scattered throughout the film. Renowned astronaut Professor Jeff Hoffman also talked about seeing the Earth from space for the first time and seeing it 11 years later, explaining that he clearly saw the depletion of greenery and the rapid rise of agricultural burning.
“Seeing from a cosmic perspective, the planet is responding to the presence of humanity,” Hoffman said.
The UN is already envisioning for the Earth to carry nine billion people by 2040, creating more demands for resources that could just all the more make nations clash. At the moment, we still compete for resources; there is war precisely because one party would want more resources from another party. This brings inequality; some people having less than other people. And when societies function under scarcity, the film highlights that conflicts with people will only continue, if not worsen.
The documentary strikes a good balance between constructively talking about what we humans have done wrong and right, but towards the latter part of the film, it strongly emphasises the potentialities of a better society through the proper use of science. Their prototypes look like a world filled with greenery, smoothly carved buildings that make use of solar energies, and people depending on what they call the “resource-based economy”.
The Venus Project’s vision of a Utopian world where cultures are redesigned and people live “free of servitude and debt” by way of scientifically reconstructing the way humans behave can be a controversial approach. But if it is for the common good, how bad can it be?
What Hoffman, Fresco, and the other experts in the documentary want to tell us, however, is that if humans are the reason why the world’s resources are exponentially depleting, humans can also be the ones to turn things around.
“A human is a learning animal,” said psychologist Henry Schlinger, and if more people would just eagerly learn the ways on how we can improve the state of the world to consequently collectively better the lives of every individual that has step foot on the planet, then the possibility of our news networks and social media feeds talking about a more inclusive and sustainable world would not be far from happening.
Portia Ladrido is a multimedia journalist specialising in social justice, culture, and the arts. She is a human rights journalism fellow at the Philippine Human Rights Information Center and the Metro Manila hub coordinator of the Solutions Journalism Network. She currently writes speeches for the Philippines’ first female socialist senator. Previously, she worked as an editor and writer at CNN Philippines.