I was recently contacted by a lady called Sally Angel, a programme producer, who worked for the BBC making documentaries, factual entertainment, arts, film and news.
Having quickly scanned and read some reviews on the book by Dr Stephan Harding, I found these to be very interesting, to say the least. I could not wait to sit back, enjoy and learn what this film had to offer.
Written and featuring Dr Stephan Harding, a world renowned ecologist who did his doctorate on the muntjac deer and realised there was more to just documentation, this film encourages, if not insists, on a new scientific revolution, Holistic Science.
Four hundred years ago science initiated our disconnection from nature, looking at earth as a machine, everything mechanical, except humans of course. We had souls! Even when they experimented on live animals, cries of pain were dismissed as creaking of the mechanics of the earth and students told to ignore them, (to some, things have not changed much) as everything on the earth was inanimate.
This was, as some say, a very mathematical view in which the earth was fragmented into particles and not viewed as a whole. Viewing earth as a whole means everything is interconnected and that was, to me, what this film was to encourage me to perceive, imagine and act upon.
The film showed me that the earth is not just mechanics and mathematics but a living, breathing and self organising system, having been around for billions of years, adjusting to times and species that have inhabited it. We do not and cannot calculate how the earth will react to our endeavours as it is self-sustainable and we will destroy ourselves as a species before we could destroy the earth, as a living thing.
It showed me that Holistic Science is a science that participates in nature and the well being of earth and that we should look for the qualities in nature, not just of nature. Look with natures quality because you cannot measure it with mathematics or mechanics. Slow down and observe what earth has given us and study it closely, to the point of interaction and pay attention to every detail. Machines can only document nature but we can feel it! We can also see, when studied closely, that everything on earth is different, like a fingerprint, no two living things are identical. Take a tulip in full bloom and put it next to a billion other tulips, no two will be the same and we can see and feel their differences throughout its lifecycle.
The film also shows us that we should trust our intuition more and that put together with our numerical mind, (using James Lovelock’s Gaia Theory) we can explore and discipline ourselves to Holistic Science. Intuition is greater than we know but it works! The earth is alive and deserves our deepest respect.
Overall, the film was informative and showed me that life is about life, not just what we can get out of it and the biggest provider is the earth itself. So see it, feel it and do not abuse it, like we do!
The film also features commentary from Brian Goodwin, Iain McGilchrist, Fritjof Capra, Vandana Shiva, Jules Cashford and Satish Kumar.
Running Time: 43 minutes
Grades 10 – Adult
If you know of anyone who would be interested in an Animate Earth event
(screening plus bespoke Q and A or discussion) please let me know!
Reviewed by Karl Tullett