Home – a summary of the documentary

A few weeks ago, our climatology teacher showed us the documentary HOME,  a documentary by the PPR group, addressing the current issues faced by the ecosystem. Obviously we slept through the one and a half hour long documentary. So our teacher, Gaurav sir told us to write a review on the movie.  We had a week to write it but obviously, we waited for the last moment. So when I sat down to write, I forgot that I just had to write a review and not a summary of the documentary. So I, like an idiot, sat in front of my laptop and watched the documentary attentively on YouTube and kept stopping in between to make notes. This went on for almost 3 hours (of course I didn’t watch it in a go) and I ended up filling 5 pages in my register. When I finished, my room mate and classmate walked over and asked me why am I writing a summary instead of a one page review, and I realized my mistake and stared at my register while my room mates laughed their heads off. So here’s what I finally mailed for submission:

Firstly, the documentary has some really breath taking clips of the Earth as it is with its variety of landscapes and cities by the French photographer – Yann Arthus-Bertrand. And not to forget, the background music was good. You will probably find yourself watching the documentary with an open mouth if you actually make the effort of watching and listening.

Advice: Keep a water bottle with you.

The documentary first shows about the origins of life on Earth and how it used to be. The documentary then explains the balance in the ecosystem and how the engine of life on Earth is based on linkage – every life form is linked to the others. Glenn Close narrates the interdependence of flora and fauna and their delicate balance which has been disturbed and has affected the whole Earth.

Agriculture came up less than 10,000 years ago and it gave surplus food which further led to the birth or civilizations and cities. Population grew by manifolds, industries flourished and demand fuel rose to meet demands of globalized industrial production which led to oil and mineral exploitation and humans started polluting the environment at an alarming rate.

“80% of the minerals are used up by 20% of the world’s population.”

Cities like Dubai, Los Angeles and Las Vegas are shown to be completely dependent on these non-renewable fuel sources and their unsustainable development is shown while 1/6th of the population lives without basic amenities and over a million people flock to cities every week. The gap between the rich and poor keeps increasing.

“Species are dying at a rhythm 1000 times faster than the natural rate.” By 2050, 1/4th of the Earth’s species may be threatened or extinct.

Rivers and the water table have been dangerously depleted. Many have been reduced to trickling water during the summers and some don’t even meet the ocean.

Forest land has been cleared for supply of Palm oil, Eucalyptus and Soya bean and also to grow grains to feed poultry animals for meat. Large scare deforestation has led to loss of habitat and humus. Every year, 13 million hectares of forest land disappears, which is alarming.

Hunger is spreading again, affecting nearly 1 billion people with the explosion in population that has multiplied 3 times since 1950.

The carbon that was trapped in the fuels, forests and the ground is being released again

into the atmosphere, heating it up. The polar ice caps are melting fast due to global warming and the ecological balance is being threatened. By 2050, 1/4th of the Earth’s species may be threatened or extinct. As Greenland’s ice melts, the fresh water mixes with sea water and hence the sea level rises, submerging the low lying coastal areas. This shows that the atmosphere is an indivisible whole and activities at one place show results all over the globe. Ice caps are 40% thinner than they were 40 years ago. The average temperature over the last 15 years has been the highest ever recorded. Major winds are changing direction and rain cycles are being altered. There may be at least 200 million climate refugees by the year 2050.

And if you aren’t scared enough, here’s food for thought: The Permafrost methane time bomb. In Siberia and Alaska, the ground is actually an ice layer trapping huge amounts of methane which is a 20 times stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So if this cover melts, there will be irreversible greenhouse effect and then life on Earth will be doomed. We have only 10 years to stop this from happening. We need to act FAST. It really is too late to be a pessimist. And there is hope.  Alternate fuel sources (like solar, wind and hydro energy) are being harvested.

“Oil might run out, but we can extract oil from the tar sands of Canada.”

The above statement in the video was rather surprising. Aren’t we supposed to harvest renewable energy from inexhaustible sources like the sun rather than scrounging for more reserves and finishing every last of these resources?

All these facts are highly alarming and hard to ignore, even though it’s a PPR group initiative which is ironic. But they do have guts. After all, it’s all those huge companies whose logos you see in the beginning of the documentary who are majorly responsible in the first place. It may be a gimmick to showcase their ‘concern’ towards the destruction of the ecosystem, and especially to their horror, the depletion of resources that fuel their factories, but the documentary still has facts that are shocking. But like Close said in the documentary, we need to become responsible consumers (and boycott these big ass companies) and actually think before we buy.  And when I saw how much we’ve damaged the environment, I was ashamed and worried. Ashamed because the whole Earth will pay the price of our reckless energy and resource consumption and worried, because 10 years isn’t a long time.

The video really leaves an impression on the mind so deep that you’ll probably be haunted through the rest of the day, and even when you wake up next morning (that is, if you make the effort of actually paying attention from the beginning.)

We need to mend our ways quickly and rise from the ashes like a phoenix before our actions result in the wipe out of life from Earth. Because like I said before, 10 years is not a long time.