We hardly look up at images of extreme forest fires, a starving polar bear on a melting ice floe or dying coral. Human actions have repercussions on our planet, and we’ve known this for decades. That can be a recipe for pessimism, despondency, the idea that we are incapable of really turning things around. But nobody gets anywhere with that.
Change is always possible. But to really make a difference, less flies, less meat, less plastic is not enough – although that is certainly essential. It is also about a different relationship with the earth. One that is not aimed at exploitation, but at collaboration. An additional advantage: we don’t have to leave things alone, we also get a lot in return – such as a healthy future.
How do we enter into such a new relationship? Among other things, by allowing ourselves to look at the world around us through a different lens, not to underestimate the power of small, local initiatives and to learn more about nature. To help you on your way, we have listed five viewing tips about eco-thinking for you:
1 – History of Mother Earth: Gaia Uncovered (2021)
Trailer van History of Mother Earth: Gaia Uncovered
Today we often treat the earth as a lump of rock and gas with which we are allowed to do as we see fit. But for thousands of years people have not seen the earth as an object, but as a subject, which lives and thinks. What can we learn in this secular age from the thinking of the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks and the people of the Middle Ages about our planet? This BBC documentary looks at whether the past provides answers to enable a healthy future. In what different ways can we relate to our planet? What abilities does the earth have, and can you speak of ‘intelligence’ in that regard? And if the Earth is smart, are we smart enough to listen to what it has to say?
Featured on BBC Select through various streaming services.
2 – Knowledge Keepers (2020)
Episode of Knowledge Keepers
Canada’s indigenous peoples interacted with nature in a very different way than we do. But their knowledge of local plants, of the pollinators needed to sustain our food resources and of natural medicines is at risk of being lost as a result of the intergenerational effects of colonization. This documentary series partially captures this knowledge, traditionally passed on orally from generation to generation. The vision of these ‘cultural knowledge keepers’ can help us cultivate a different way of dealing with the earth: they do not live on the earth, but with the earth. The first episode is about the tradition of harvesting bark from the cedar tree and the importance of such a natural ritual, the second about the healing effect of plants.
To see via the website from the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), Vancouver (free).
3 – The Biggest Little Farm (2018)
Trailer van The Biggest Little Farm
In The Biggest Little Farm, American John and Molly Chester exchange their small Los Angeles apartment for a farm surrounded by a huge expanse of fruitless land. The documentary shows how in eight years they pursue their dream of living in harmony with nature, by building an ecosystem in which poison and violence are out of the question. That brings challenges, but by planting ten thousand trees, introducing hundreds of crops and allowing all kinds of animals to live on the property, the land eventually comes to life. The documentary shows that a different way of farming is possible, a different approach to nature, and what the world looks like if we cooperate with nature instead of against it.
Can be seen via various streaming services, including Cinetree.
4 – How trees talk to each other (2016 & 2017)
Suzanne Simard, professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia (Canada), is also known as ‘The Tree Whisperer’. She became world famous for her discovery that trees communicate and work together through an underground network of fungi. For example, spruce and birch send each other carbon when necessary due to a shady spot. Simard calls this network ‘The wood wide web’. Her work invites us to look at the world around us in a different way. Learn to listen to nature, Simard advises, she has plenty to teach us. For example, that communication and cooperation are essential for a healthy whole and to be able to continue to exist. In her book Looking for the mother tree (2021) she invites us to look at trees in a new way, but for those who prefer to watch and listen: she also reveals her knowledge in her TED talks.
5 – Tomorrow (2015)
Tomorrow (original title: tomorrow) is a French documentary film that does not focus on the negative aspects of human activity on the planet, but on hopeful initiatives worldwide that seek solutions to the current ecological challenges. The documentary has won multiple awards, including a César Award and a Golden Salamander for best documentary, and is a must for those seeking optimism in these times of climate depression. French actress Mélanie Laurent and eco-activist Cyril Dion travel to ten countries after reading in the prestigious scientific magazine Nature that part of humanity will become extinct if we continue on the same footing. There they speak to pioneers who each offer an alternative to the current model in their own way, for example with an organic market garden, urban farming or a revolutionary education system.
Can be seen via various streaming services, including Cinetree.
During the Thinking Planet – From Ego to Eco event, we look for new ways to relate to the planet, future generations and other Earthlings. During this event we will not dwell in abstract thoughts, but we will look for ways to convert these ideas into concrete action.
If we look at the world with a new lens, do we see different perspectives for action? Join the conversation during Thinking Planet, April 29, 2022 in Amsterdam.
Source: Kennislink by www.nemokennislink.nl.
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