Roger Ebert reviews Surviving Progress:
“Surviving Progress,” a bone-chilling new documentary, argues that the world has financed an unsustainable growth rate by essentially encouraging whole nations to take out unpayable mortgages on their own futures. Brazil is given as an example. Enormous loans are given to the nation, which cannot meet the payments, and is then encouraged to liquefy its own natural assets – the rainforests. When the assets are gone, the wealth will have been taken out in the same process, and corporations will leave behind a drained nation and move on to another loan customer. […]
“Surviving Progress” is a bright, entertaining (!), coherent argument in favor of these principles I have simplified so briefly. It’s self-evident and tells the truth. It is an irony that the actual victims of the process are often those most in support of it. Think of the opposition to “tree huggers.” In Brazil, they are seen as a cause of unemployment in the lumber and logging industries. Actually, they are opposed to the nation essentially tearing its wealth out of the ground and shipping it overseas, resulting not only in unemployment but in devastation.
Just replace lumber with coal and Brazil with Appalachia and the analogy is equally apt.
The film’s screening dates include a May 12-16 run at Williamsburg’s Kimball Theatre and June 6 showing at Norfolk’s Naro Cinema.