Two nights ago I watched the documentary, Home, with a small group of friends. The film, approaching two hours in duration, is a visual feast. Entirely shot from the air, presumably from a helicopter, it provides an aerial perspective of stunning natural vistas most of us will never see.
It also displays the unprecedented and startling changes humanity has wrought to the earth’s surface in the last fifty years. And it extrapolates that more minerals will be extracted, with ever larger and more powerful machinery, from the planet in the next twenty years than in all of recorded history. (See my earlier related blog Ok Tedi and China Blue)
All this is based on a premise of unlimited, exponential growth and rampant consumerism; that bigger is better. The film makes it abundantly clear we need to act now, if not very soon, to slow the avalanche of destruction and chart a new and gentler course for humanity. We are not walking softly on the earth and the sea at present, rather we are raping and pillaging at a rate sure to severely impact the ability of our children to enjoy this still amazing planet.
I thought the film was well worth viewing from a perspective of earthly beauty. I did feel the focus on the negative lasted too long and was somewhat numbing and disempowering. There were hints of positive possibilities near the end of the documentary with examples from smaller and saner nations like Denmark, Costa Rica and New Zealand.
It would appear the adage, ‘Think globally. Act locally,’ is as apt as ever. The morning after viewing the film, I picked up rubbish from the beach and then spent satisfying hours in the garden creating a huge mound of compost from hedge clippings, garden scraps and seaweed. Once again I felt empowered, knowing I was doing my little bit to make the world a more fertile and better place.
John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.