I recently stumbled upon a documentary called Home on YouTube and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys living on this planet of ours and would like to extend the experience to future generations. Narrated by Glenn Close, the film begins with a plea to her fellow homo sapiens to listen to the story of the history of the planet, how mankind’s presence and progress have affected it, and then to decide what you want to do with it. What follows is often mesmerizing, sometimes horrific, but essentially hopeful.
The first act covers the development of the planet from its beginning as a lifeless ball of fiery rock to its cooling and the flow of water. As blue/green algae leads the way for plants to absorb the energy of the sun, the Earth continues to evolve as life multiplies and prospers. Act two presents the influence of mankind, partly as a marvelous display of ingenuity and of course, as most recent nature films must, partly as a largely destructive force which has ravaged the earth and contributed greatly to global warming and world poverty. However, Act three offers a ray of hope, short as it may be, as the film demonstrates some of the miraculous ingenuities mankind is developing as we search for forms of alternative, sustainable energy.
Shot largely via aerial view, the film boasts some truly remarkable cinematography, allowing the viewer to truly see things from a different perspective. Incredible footage of the development of Dubai, from its manmade islands to scores of skyscrapers, stands as a testament to western modernity, so far removed from nature yet so dependent upon it. The fading Saudi Arabian circle crops, created with nonrenewable fossil water, look almost unreal when seen from above. Great insight can be gained from the now extinct tribe of the Rapanui of Easter Island, who formed one of the most brilliant civilizations in the Pacific before exploiting and depleting their natural resources. As the second act brings its dreadful malaise to an end through a series of texted statistics laid over a somber aria, we are suddenly given a wonderful glimpse of hope through the words, “It’s up to us to write what happens next… Together.” And so act three begins.
“It’s too late to be a pessimist,” Ms. Close repeatedly says as she gives her summation, highlighting the wonderful insights she has seen in humanity and the strides we continue to take to a more just and sustainable future. As devastating as our industrial apathy and selfishness may be to the planet, we are also growing in education, even to the most remote regions. Though our use of fossil fuels has created great amounts of pollution, we are developing new processes of solar, geothermal, wind, and tidal power.
All in all, Home, produced with the intention of being freely offered, is a great celebration of our planet and a call to arms for those who would protect her resources, preserve her natural beauty, and progress to the next great revolution. With a running time of only an hour and a half, the stunning cinematography and beautiful world music is well worth the time.
Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts at Anything Arts, Sarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.