“Escape from Suburbia – Beyond the American Dream” is a full length feature running to 95 minutes. It is Directed by Gregory Greene and is his sequel to “The End of Suburbia – Oil Depletion and The Collapse of The American Dream”. 2007’s “Escape….” picks up where the previous work left off. This is North American-centric. In the U.S. the problem of Suburbia has reached its ultimate absurdity but there is nothing here that would not be familiar to the people of the industrialised Nations of Europe or Asia. In our more crowded confines our Suburban nightmare finds expression in the trips to the out-of-town Supermarket. Maybe the difference for Europeans is our population density. Whereas Americans look to retreat into their wilderness there is nowhere for the average Briton to run to. We have to make a stand. Greene’s first movie was criticised for not having enough women in it. With this follow-up he redresses the balance because this movie is about what ordinary people are doing rather than what the Oil Geologists say. It is about practical examples and leadership.
This movie was an indie success story, winning major festival awards and attracting major media attention. Such a movie can be used to raise awareness but it does run for too long. It follows the stories of various communities and activists in various locations in the U.S. Their story is one of either running away or making a stand. Either way they are getting ready for a low-energy world and relocalising.
The documentary is littered with expert talking heads with both Matthew Simmons and Michael Ruppert given extensive opportunity to express their opinions. However, if that doesn’t impress you then the other experts on hand is a who’s who of shakers and movers in the Peak Oil world. In fact everyone bar Colin Campbell makes an appearance. The movie describes itself as a ‘wake up call’. It challenges the paradigm of infinite growth and shows the alternatives that citizens are pursuing. There are countless thousands coming together to discuss Peak Oil and to work to relocalise their communities to ensure their survival. An inspirational work. Special mention must be made for the section on the LA Community Farm that the local authority had bulldozed to build a warehouse. They claim it was needed for ‘jobs’. Do jobs come before food? What a tragic waste. What a setback. The delusion of never-ending growth will have these occasional victories over sustainability but the ball is rolling. Let it gain momentum. Show this movie to your friends, family and community. Relocalise now. Get your copy from www.powerswitch.org.uk/order.htm