I am ashamed to say that I am not one who has ever much gone in for environmentalism.
That is not to say that I am not aware or do not care about the environment and the sustaining of our planet. Neither does it mean that I am one of those people who denies that climate change is happening. I am fully aware of the implications of our actions on the globe and of the fact that, if we continue along our current trajectory, we will destroy our own home, Planet Earth.
My personal focus has always been more inclined towards the human condition. Human rights has formed a very important focus for my life and will, I believe, be a life-long dedication. In a recent discussion with a friend, who is a strong advocate of animal rights, I told her that my seeming lack of concern for animal welfare was more about ignorance than anything else. My acute awareness of the constant human rights violations committed across the world means that I cannot help but be moved by them. My twitter feed is filled with human rights issues, as is my browsing history and the pages I flick to in newspapers and magazines. If I had a deeper awareness of animal rights issues, I am sure I would be similarly moved.
The same is true for environmental issues. I am vaguely aware of the basic concepts. That fossil fuels = greenhouse gasses that = damage to the ozone layer that = a steady increase in the earth’s temperature that = the melting of the polar icecaps that = flooding and the destruction of the earth. Deforestation I know is bad for ecosystems as is all of the pollution pumped into our land, sea and air for multiple reasons. However, ask me to give you specific examples, important laws or relevant statistics and I simply cannot. As a result, I have a vague awareness that I should be doing something, but it is nothing compared to the burning desire that I have surrounding the issue of human rights.
I will be honest, I clicked on the video because it mentioned astronauts. If I could do any job in the world, I would be an astronaut. I love films and books talking about astronauts and their experiences, and have always harboured a childish dream to go to space. Drawn in by this promise of astronauts, I was duly satisfied. However, Planetary Collective’s short film is much more than simply a recollection of experiences. What Planetary Collective have made is at once visually beautiful, moving in its story-telling, and compelling in its argument. Drawing on the experiences of astronauts who have been to space, and their telling of how it looks and feels to see earth from such a vaulted perspective, they put forward the case for the need for people on earth to work together to ensure our planet survives. This is not some self-righteous, statistic-filled, propaganda piece. Combining human experience and philosophy it makes you remember that earth is our home and that it provides for all our needs. It gives and sustains life. This anomaly in the near solar system is, in the words of … “an oasis in the vast universe”. It’s beauty is at once astounding and fragile. The sight of thunder storms and auroras from above appeals to our sensory and aesthetic senses. The beauty of the land and sea in all its variety cannot help but engender a sense of awe. The interconnectedness of everything is acutely visible from above. Sadly, the divisions and damage we have created are painfully apparent too.
Above all, it is the sight of the thin meniscus that is the ozone layer that protects us all from the vast power of the sun and the universe that causes both the greatest gratitude and the greatest fear. This thin layer of gas envelops us all and keeps us alive, yet we are slowly damaging it with only thoughts for the short-term. The … perspective that the astronauts, philosophers, scientists and artists involved in the Planetary Collective project allude to in “Original” encourages us to see that the earth is all we have, that it has provided for us, but that it is neither inexhaustible nor indestructible. That what we do on one side of the planet, has an affect on the other. That we are undeniably and infinitely interconnected and that we must work to a more sustainable future.
The film is 20 minutes. I had it saved in my tabs for about 2 months before settling down to watch it. Just watch it now. All you will do otherwise is re-read your Facebook homepage, check back on your emails every 4 minutes despite knowing that you are not going to receive anything new or of any great importance, or head to Buzzfeed. I promise you it is worth it.