Sturla Gunnarsson: ‘Force of Nature’


Force of Nature is a film directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, an individual born in Iceland raised in Vancouver. He hasn’t done too much that I’ve really connected with, but his repertoire is out there.

I really appreciated this film. Gunnarsson’s Force of Nature gave focus to Activist/Scholar David Suzuki. Interestingly, Suzuki is the main character that lets his life unfold in front of the viewer without coming off as an educational seminar entirely.
David Suzuki is so significant because of a ream of things, his ethnicity, advanced thinking and effort filled activism bundled together with a great ounce of hope.
He touches on a few major problems that I really identify with environmentally –
The Population Issue
Addressed by Thomas Malthus over two hundred years ago, the population crunch is a major issue. In my fourth year of university, I was completely fixated on addressing the population problem. There are simply too many people on the earth. My perspective sought to address the issue ethically, unfortunately my approach was tremendously flawed. I made the argument that humans are living on land that is unsustainable, thus humans should not be living there. I was originally trying to address famine and access to water, naturally my focus was funneled to the poorer nations struggling with these issues. This was obviously not a realistic response but it really resonated with me.
People usually responded with the argument that it is flourishing nations like Canada are unsustainable. OK, fair. I left this argument to rest.
Suzuki tackled this significantly less directly, although a very tactful approach. He addressed major issues that are affecting an exponential population growth:
Life Longevity
Growing eco footprints

He also claimed that we’re all fruit flies. He explained, we’re leading a suicidal pattern which could be explained in a mathematical ceremony. Steady growth = exponential, or doubling growth cycle. Consider bacteria in a sample, at 59 minutes it is half full, in one minute, if each bit of bacteria duplicates itself, in just one minute the sample is completely full of bacteria. Leaving it to the last minute means we’re too late to address these issues. He asks: How much is enough?

Forces of Nature give humans limitations

Limitations is another point that recently interested me. His point in the film stated that it was these natural forces that limit humans – ozone, oxygen. A co-worker at work last night commented about how sunscreen is actually not helping us. She made the point that it is by burn that humans think to move away from the sun, less time exposure. But with the invention of sunscreen, humans are spending extended hours in the sun, far worse than we did before.
When will these limitations halt our dangerous actions.
Human constructs

He specifically tackles the words Enterprise and Capitalism. These are words that have grown to dramatically affect how we look at things. They’re just words. I wish it was that easy to reduce it to just words.
He states: “When we measure everything in economic value, those things that mean most to us are worthless”
Stuff wealth vs. things that we did (what matters?)
He also name drops Margaret Mead.
I was happy to hear the very uplifting tune “Neighbourhood #1” by The Arcade Fire. And peppered throughout the film Bob Dyland’s “A Hard Rain” and Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In.” Paul Desmond also made the soundtrack.
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