The irrevocable environmental damage done to planet Earth by countries and people over the last few decades has been alarming to watch unfold for two reasons.
The first is that we have now seemingly reached the point of no return, and something truly has to be done to combat the endless issues that are threatening our planet. The second is that, far from addressing the problem, the current US government has actually tried to downplay it instead.
But while government has its role to play, Jeff Bridges believes that we as individuals have to take responsibility ourselves if change is going to be achieved.
That’s exactly what he has done with “Living In The Future’s Past,” a documentary that he narrates and has produced, which sees experts from all walks of life reflecting on the environmental challenges facing the world today, while asking, “What kind of future do we want to live in?”
“I don’t think we can wait for this topdown answer to the problem,” Bridges recently explained to me over the phone.
“We as individuals have to look at what we can do and not so much just make a little contribution of $10 or $20 to some organization that scratches the guilt itch.”
“Try to really engage personally with it and think what you can do that is particular to your strengths. Don’t count on the government.”
“One of my biggest concerns is that oil is such a precious, toxic gift that we have on this planet. It’s not that we shouldn’t be using oil, it’s that we should be using it to create a different energy system.”
“We have enough oil to do that. But it won’t last forever. We should be using it to help change things around.”
What has Bridges done himself to try and fight the problem, though?
“My father Lloyd Bridges had this TV series back in the 60s called ‘Sea Hunt.’ He was very interested in the ocean and the health of the sea. I am very much interested in that as well.”
“Over the years I have been involved in a lot of different organizations that are heading in that direction. One of those organizations is the Plastic Pollution Coalition, which is getting us off plastic water bottles and plastic straws.”
“We have addicted ourselves to plastic. It is a convenience, but with a long view they say this stuff is biodegradable but it is not. There is a big movement to get rid of plastic straws. I personally a few months ago started using pasta straws. Which are great!”
But while Bridges was keen to get involved and help with “Living In The Future’s Past,” he wanted to make sure during his initial discussions with director Susan Kucera that, unlike its peers, the documentary would be more in-depth, well-rounded and actually provide an idea of where we came from and how we can all assist with this crisis.
“We didn’t need another doomsday film that talked about the enormity of the problem. I wanted to bring something new to the party, a new way of looking at it.”
“I even got a few experts and interviewers that I knew from the world of science, philosophy, politics and some astronauts, too, involved, so that the issue was covered from a variety of different angles.”
“We wanted to look at evolution, why we are wired the way we are. I love our planet and I am concerned about the direction scientists are saying it is heading.”
“So I got involved about 2 years ago, and we wanted to learn for ourselves about the issue.”
As you can imagine, Bridges learned a cavalcade of information during this process. But was there any one element of the film that struck a particularly strong chord?
“I found emergent behavior a fascinating phenomenon that happens. We see it in flocks of birds and seas of fish, how they move together. There is no leader, but they’re all moving and there is a definite shape and this is the way they’re going.”
“To apply that same phenomenon onto human beings and our super organism and what our behavior is and how the individual can effect that is what I am now interested.”
And while Bridges can’t quite remember if he started work on the film before or after the current Commander In Chief was elected, he did admit, “I am certainly using what our federal government has done and the positions they are taking on so many of these issues to inspire me to get going to create the kind of world that I dream of.”
“And I am aligning myself with people that feel that same way, rather than throwing my hands up and feeling cynical about the whole thing. I just want to take action.”
“Living In The Future’s Past” is released on October 5, 2018.