By Chris Mitsoulis
As WALL-E leaves his version of a home in post-America, he ventures off to collect trinkets that would seem unimportant to humans today. However, in a world overtaken by waste, WALL-E’s trinkets are valued because they are the only commemorations of human life on Earth.
This scene from the 2008 film WALL-E led to a discussion between students and Eco-Reps at the Feb. 8 kickoff of the Green Film Series in Sweigart 115.
Senior Brenna Simonson, an Eco-Rep, posed the question, “Should we use technology to fix these problems or should we go back to basics?” The general consensus was that technology and mass consumerism is the menace behind our waste issues and we must change our ways going forward in order to keep the world undamaged.
This argument was further discussed by Sustainability Coordination manager Melissa Greenberg, who said with regard to wasteful production of gadgets, “the mindset of corporations is driven by the dollar.” In addition, attendees discussed the message of waste and pollution put forth in WALL-E and how it applies to our world today.
WALL-E, set in the year 2805, is the story about the perilous effect of mass consumerism on humanity. At the center of the plot is the mega-corporation, Buy n Large. It is responsible for polluting the Earth to such a degree that humans were forced to evacuate the planet 700 years prior. Left to clean up the polluted Earth was an army of trash-collecting robots called WALL-E.
In 2805, only one WALL-E remains and develops emotions. WALL-E soon discovers a seedling growing in the trash and carries it to his home, which is already filled with a plethora of keepsakes that he discovered.
Later, EVE, an advanced robot sent by Buy n Large from space arrives on the trash-covered planet in search of life. WALL-E soon falls in love with EVE and shows her the plant. Since EVE was sent to Earth to obtain any type of living organism in the hope humans could return to Earth, she stores the plant, enters standby mode and is airlifted back to the distant spaceship, Axiom, with WALL-E clinging to the retrieval ship’s hull.
Life on the Axiom consists of obese, couch potato-like passengers who, like their captain, rely on automated systems to function. With knowledge of the living plant, a power struggle erupts between man and machine when the captain and the autopilot, Auto, disagree over the decision to hyper jump back to Earth and restore life on the home planet. This leads to a series of clashes throughout the Axiom with EVE and WALL-E trying to get the plant to the holodetector, which would then initiate the hyper jump sequence and return the Axiom’s population to Earth.
Upon arrival back on Earth, EVE repairs the damaged WALL-E, and the two join the humans and robots in restoring Earth’s environment.
After being launched in the fall of 2009, the Green Film Series continues to deliver a message about key matters concerning sustainability, conservation and environmental issues to the Rider community.
These events are held on the second Tuesday of every month during the academic year with upcoming presentations including Tapped and Coal Country.