COLLAPSE (or how I lost my roommate and started recycling)


“'I'm not advocating social Darwinism, I am witnessing actual Darwinism. 
If you are in a camp with a bunch of campers,  and a bear attacks, you don’t have to be faster than the bear. 
You only have to be faster than the slowest camper”

Michael Ruppert

A couple of months ago a file started to bounce from one computer to another in the COLORS office. Size: 697.3 MB. File type: .Avi (video) Name: Collapse. A very suggestive name in an office where employees were only speaking about traffic accidents, number of aircrafts flying in every minute in the sky, rate of bike accidents in Kenya, and ways to fuel a SUV with dirty diapers. We were in the middle of the research for Colors 81 – Transport.

Opening that file, you would find yourself watching 82 minutes of footage of a middle-aged guy with belly and moustache sitting on a chair. His name is Michael Ruppert, a former LA police officer who left his truncheon to be a journalist and write Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of The Age of OilCollapse, the 2009 documentary inspired by Ruppert’s book, has been alternatively reviewed as a big lie, as a strong manifesto for change, or as just another film heralding the apocalypse. Whatever opinion you might have on it (If you do not have one, then you should at least watch the trailer here) just let me tell you about how after watching it I lost my flatmate and started recycling.

It’s by night and there are a bottle of wine and a packet of cigarettes on the table. My Brazilian flatmate and colleague Thiago is sitting next to me. The documentary begins and Michael Ruppert, between frantic puffs of smokes, starts speaking about oil, transportation and the energy crisis. He foresees industrial, economical and social collapse. Then he cries and starts speaking about permaculture, alternative energies and getting off the grid. The end. I turn to Thiago and notice that my roommate is slapped by what he has just seen. Thiago, who is a cheerful and ever-smiling guy, now looks anxious. He moves to the sofa, scratched his head. We drink the bottle of wine; we smoke a couple of cigarettes each. I'm going to sleep, but Thiago is in the living room and watches the movie. Again.

When I wake up the next day, Thiago is separating the garbage. It's the first time I see him doing something like this. Two days later, my roommate, who has always been an inveterate carnivore and a wine lover, is only eating salads and drinking water. Three days later he starts doing research on permaculture, keeps going back to the film's website to check what’s new. Four days later, Thiago quits Fabrica and a day later he is on a plane back to his own country, Brazil.

As for me, the movie changed me as well. After watching it I started cycling to work every day. I boughty some garbage bags to do recycling. I even wrote a magazine that suggest alternative, DIY, homemade ways to be more sustainable, to live and move in a more ecofriendly way, a series of stories that deal in an original way with the idea of collapse.