Even if you don't know his name, you probably know his images. Yann Arthus-Bertrand is a master of creating photographs so stunning, so impactful, that they really might be able to save the world - or at least help to.
His method is to get somewhere high and mobile, usually a helicopter or a paraglider, and point his camera downward. The results are usually magnificent, and last year, they inspired a film.
Home starts slowly. But it's worth allowing yourself to slip into the near-meditative state that the paced montage, paired with plaintive tribal music, elicits. You can almost feel your heartbeats decelerate as narrator Glenn Close explains the beginnings of the universe, of our Earth. You're still feeling peaceful when she says, "Every species has its place. None is harmful or futile. They all balance out."
But then, 200,000 years ago, one of the youngest species started changing things. Humans, the film explains with the help of some powerful statistics, are altering the planet's balance in ever-exponential ways. The documentary quickens to become a soaring travelogue of urban grit and overly consumptive places - Dubai and Las Vegas, to name two. Modern agricultural methods are treated to a strong condemnation, with meat production depicted as being especially abhorrent.
At moments, the images and information are so devastating that a sensitive viewer may look away, or just turn it off. The scariest moment, perhaps, is when we're told that we have less than ten years to turn things around before it's too late.
But Home, thankfully, ends on a hopeful note. Cities and nations doing the right thing, such as installing offshore wind farms (Denmark) or reforesting (South Korea), are upheld as proof that solutions already exist and reason to be optimistic about the fate of our planet. After all, there is no place like it.
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