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Homecoming possible
By Daphne D'Gama
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Home broke the world record for the largest film release in history, released internationally on World Environmental Day, 5th June, 2009 for free on YouTube as well as at theatres. The non-profit documentary directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, French photographer and environmentalist, tells of our planet, Earth and the damage done to it by modern humanity. Describing the evolution of the Earth, nature, agriculture, humans - and the crises of habitat destruction, energy depletion, climate disruption, degradation of the environment, health, economic disparity, and more - this thought-provoking monologue about human consumption, along with aerial footage of our destructive footprint on the planet and photographs of landscapes from across 54 countries, shot over 217 days, makes Home one of the best - or at least the most beautifully captured - environmental documentaries ever created. The film is narrated in English by Glenn Close and in Spanish by Salma Hayek. It is also available 15 other languages.

The narration begins with an overview of how Earth was created and documents terrestrial evolution over several thousand years till it reaches the period where technology begins to affect nature. Home provides factual statistics which are informative and enlightening - and visually awe-inspiring.

We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources...

Director: Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Producer: Luc Besson/EUROPA
Year: 2009 | Price: Free on YouTube and Theatres
Length: 1hr 33mn
The director says that from the air, it’s easy to see the Earth’s wounds - which if why the film consists only of aerial shots. On the other hand, Home highlights the regions and cities that prove there is still time for change. It points out accomplishments of cities such as Freiburg, Germany, which is one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world, like building wind farms and capturing solar power instead of oil reserves for energy and using moderation, intelligence and sharing to solve environmental problems.

The style of the film makes it educational for audiences of all ages. There are a vast number of local and global issues that must be resolved. The solutions provided are technological and industrial in nature and include reconstructing of power resources like wind, solar, geothermal, wave energy and use of clean coal. If anything, Home is worth seeing for its wealth of stunning aerial shots of out world and its nature and technology.

“Home simply sets out our current situation, while saying that a solution exists” said Arthus-Bertrand. We know that the solutions are there. We all have the power to change, so what are we waiting for? Home portrays how many the little things we do can add up to affect the whole world. In short, we can change the script from here onwards. “The ecosystem has no borders,” Close reminds us.

What is important is not what is gone, but what remains.

"Our Earth relies on a balance - a subtle, fragile harmony. The engine of life is linkage.
Everything is linked, nothing is self-sufficient."

"The concentration of carbon dioxide hasn't been so high for several hundred thousand years.
Humanity has never lived in an atmosphere like this."

"Greenland's ice contains 20% of the fresh water of the whole planet. If it melts, sea levels will rise by nearly seven meters and currently the ice caps are 40 percent thinner than 40 years ago."

“There may be at least 200 million climate refugees by 2050.”

Dubai, a fast developing country rich in oil is mentioned as a “new beacon for all the world’s money” and is criticized for having endless sun but no solar powered electricity.

“5000 people a day die because of dirty drinking water while 1 billion people have no access to safe drinking water.”

“40 percent of arable land has suffered long-term damage.”

“Every year 13 million hectares of forest disappear”

“One mammal in 4, one bird in 8, one amphibian in 3 are threatened with extinction while three quarters of fishing grounds are exhausted, depleted or are in dangerous decline.”

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