Saturday, August 01, 2009


Zach and I watched HOME last night. He'd heard about it a while back, I think listened to an interview with the director, Yann Arthus-Bertarand, and heard that the cinematography in the film was supposed to be amazing. It's the first movie ever that is 100% aerial footage, the whole thing filmed from helicopters, all fairly close-up, too, the shots incredibly smooth. We got the DVD from netflix, but the film is available and free to watch for everyone, up on YouTube and also the film's website.

In a similar vein as An Inconvenient Truth, HOME tells the story of our planet and how it was formed and then goes on to show how we humans have changed it. How we managed to figure out how to dominate the various habitats and environments accross it. And, finally, how in the past 50 years we've caused more dramatic changes than in our entire history beforehand, and are basically in significant danger of shooting ourselves in the foot as we consume resources at a pace much faster than they can be renewed. The website sums the film's message as the following paradox: that "we have never been so dependent on natural resources and yet we have never cut ourselves off from nature to this extent."

As I watched the beautiful footage, and listened to the narrated script, I often felt like something was tightening around my chest. There are entire ecosystems (wetlands, mangroves,etc) that have been reduced by 50% from our immediate actions just in the past few decades... they very well may not even exist by the time Donovan is my age. We continue to pump oil and mine minerals out of the earth, things we have become so dependent on, at a rate that is impossible to sustain. Water resources are running low, major rivers no longer flowing out to the sea for several months of the year now, because we're consuming their supplies faster than they can be replenished. A billion people worldwide don't have access to clean drinking water. It goes without saying that a large part of the film was incredibly depressing, thinking about what our future might look like.

Yet it was also incredibly motivating and inspiring. They ended the film with examples of countries and communities that have made changes that made a huge difference. I had no idea that Costa Rica no longer has a military, deciding instead to funnel that money into preserving their forests and environment. I am once again seriously considering giving up beef altogether, since cattle are such a huge drain to our water and food stores (something like 70% of the grain grown worldwide go to livestock feed and biofuels, not food for people). I am even more comitted to try to make the changes I can make, as an individual, to help do my part. Will it have any significant effect? I have no idea. Probably not. But by choosing to live our lives a certain way, and make certain choices above others, I can hopefully lead by example, and also instill these values in my child as he grows up. It is for him, after all, that I fear the most. It will be he and his children who will have to face the consequences of our actions, who will inherit a world where all the easily accessible resources will be gone.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't head about HOME. I'll have to check it out. Good luck on changing your ways and I hope many others do the same.



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