“We need folk proficient in grief!”
This was the line that most spoke to my heart, as I watched the new road movie "wetheuncivilised, A Life Story" at the community-run New Cross Library, in southeast London.
It is a beautiful, tender first film from a young unpretentious couple, Lily Rose Sequoia and Peter Sequoia, covering a road-trip they made around Britain, in their vegetable-powered van, seeking answers to the deep dissatisfaction that they felt about our planet-destroying uncivilised consumer-culture.
They interviewed many of the heroes of the UK's environmental movement, Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence, Jewels Wingfield, the eco-feminist, the late Patrick Whitefield, permaculture expert, Mac McCartney, the Embercombe Eco-training Centre founder, Polly Higgins, Ecocide campaigner, the awe-inspiring Vanessa Vine, the Balcombe fracking blockade leader and cutting edge 'uncivilised' eco-communities such as Tinker's Bubble.
The film is full of stunning shots of the remaining shards of the natural world we have not yet destroyed in Britain.
It includes a magical sensitive synthesis of the real-life illness and death of the permaculture elder Patrick Whitefield and the simultaneous gestation and birth of the couple's own first love-child.
It was a privilege for the viewers to share this birth, for the ecstatic almost orgasmic experience it was for the mother, whilst not denying the real potential fatal risks, which emerged following the birth and which required life-saving modern medical treatment for the mother, Lily.
This movie enables Patrick to make even his passing into part of his life's work, calling on all of us to live in permaculture, rather than consumer culture. It also acted as an abrupt and a challenging reminder to the couple of the positive sides of westernisation.
There is such a tender gentle spiritual depth to the movie, that hot slow tears started spilling down my cheeks, almost from the beginning and kept doing so almost right through to the end.
This was despite the movie being full of stark facts or statistics about the apocalyptic destruction we are wreaking on nature.
I have been crying such tears for the destruction of our earth for some time now. It feels sometimes as though somebody plugged me into the earth's horrific pain, as humanity bulldozes its way through her beautiful creation.
60% of all the wildlife that was on our planet in 1960, has already been destroyed by our uncivilised barbaric consumerism.
At the current rate of blind ignorant destruction, almost all of it may have suffered ecocide by the time I die.
How dare we? How dare we?!!
My intuition tells me that maybe we have to experience this deep cataclysmic pain that nature and the earth are enduring, if we are to have any hope of communicating the urgency of the crisis that our planet is in.
So please, try and get to see this movie.
Organise a showing in your community.
Whilst, the film is weak, like so many others in its genre, on what solutions we individually and collectively can take to tackle our uncivilised consumer culture, it is invaluable as an inspiration to those who see it, to seek them out or to re-inspire those of us already on this path. Of course, the readers of Permaculture magazine know many of these solutions already anyway.
We the uncivilised, each and every one of us, have unlimited potential to heal our earth.
We ALL have to be unlimited activists now!
My tears gently flowed again, even as I wrote this review. Maybe I have joined the tribe of elders proficient in grief?!
Donnachadh McCarthy is an environmental author, journalist and campaigner. He is the author of The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought (www.theprostitutestate.co.uk) and is founder of Stop Killing Cyclists and Advertising Action on Climate Project (which you can find on Facebook). @donnachadhmc
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