by Alex Jackson I'm not quite sure how I feel about the environmental movement--the subject of Robert Stone's documentary Earth Days. There are two inarguable, somewhat contradictory truths at work here: mankind has been destroying and continues to destroy the planet he is inhabiting; and various doomsday scenarios predicted by the environmental and population-control movements have not come to pass. Stone shows us environmental leaders from three decades ago predicting that the sky will fall in 30 years. I sort of wish he had found room for a clip from Richard Fleischer's great 1973 film Soylent Green, which posits a future where strawberry jam is sold on the black market and food shortages are great enough that corporations start selling people in cracker form. It was a dystopia that never saw the light of day. Stone includes archival footage from the 1950s of men spraying pesticides on kids swimming in a community pool and it gets a huge laugh from the audience. We wonder how Americans could have been so naïve. But with its roots in the '60s counterculture, the environmental movement has its own kind of naivety; as Andrew Stanton's WALL·E demonstrated with its mock corporate-logo stinger, anti-consumerism is itself a product to be consumed. The attitudes of the 1960s are every bit as campy, every bit as surrounded by quotation marks, as those of the 1950s. As a teenager, I found myself strongly siding with the population-control movement. Seeing how more people were being born than dying, I was convinced that human beings would eventually outstrip their resources. The large Mormon families whose offspring I went to school with struck me as morally bankrupt. I've since chilled out. Stone interviews a woman who, upon graduating from college, announced that she was never going to have a child. I find it incredible that she is willing to sacrifice the joy of becoming a mother not because she personally doesn't identify motherhood as joyful, but because she doesn't want to contribute to overpopulation. Subjugating one's individualism in the name of the Greater Good to this degree registers as a little insane. It's true that we are all citizens of planet Earth and it's true that we should be conscientious of the cumulative impact of our individual actions, yet living exclusively on a global scale really isn't any way to live at all.