Beautifully shot and edited, Animate Earth is an eloquent appraisal of holistic science as a fundamental way of redefining our worldview and relationship with the planet. Written and presented by scientist Stephan Harding (the film is taken from his book of the same name) viewers are taken on a journey that is both a personal story and an urgent appeal.
Resident ecologist at Schumacher College, Harding tells of his paradigm shift as a budding scientist rapt by an analytic world view to what would become a more intuitive approach to science. Describing, in his characteristically gentle manner, the transition from a mechanistic
science mindset to a deeper way of knowing, forms the backbone of the film's narrative and key thesis: conventional science has inadvertently contributed to our present ecological crises.
A whirlwind tour of the history of mechanistic science follows, alongside interviews with leading environmentalists and thinkers critiquing the dominant reductionist worldview as exposed by numerical science. These sequences are handsomely shot and focus on the kernel of the ideas being presented, helping keep the pace of the film's momentum, rather than detracting from its main focus.
Running at only 45 minutes the film's magnificent visuals cut from focused detail to grand vistas, the material to the man-made world, the small to the large, echoing the film (and book's) central argument – an expanded science that cultivates wisdom alongside rational knowledge is necessary and needed.
Stunningly shot, the film doesn't suffer from the doom mongering of many films labelled 'environmentalism'. Thoroughly positive in its approach, Animate Earth presents a way in which science must better connect with the planet. Holistic science – a science fit for the 21st century – is the compass needed to steer our way out of the current ecological crises. A truly inspiring film.
Philip Moore is a writer, filmmaker, and permaculture enthusiast.