Watch This: I.O.U.S.A.

What does a documentary film about the growth of the national debt in the last decade have to do with sustainability? Everything.

Cheap credit during the economy’s boom years fed a boom in consumption, as Americans gobbled up cameras, flat-screen TVs, cars and out-sized homes on the backs of financing they couldn’t afford.

Most of us can look around our home or apartment and spot a lot of goodies you would never think a moderate income could support. The unfortunate realization? It can’t. Most of us bought our lifestyle by racking up debt, as the average American savings slipped into negative territory for the first time in history.

I.O.U.S.A. takes a look at the issue from a macro level, where Congress and the Bush Administration expanded government while cutting taxes and going to war. We went from paying down on the debt in 2000 to doubling it to over $10 trillion just seven years later. Today, it sits at $11.8 trillion and counting.

America bought a debt it can’t sustain, and it has fueled a level of consumption that’s not sustainable for our environment. I.O.U.S.A. shows why the debt grew, why it matters, and suggests what we can do about it.