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(Review of film by
Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 
GoodPlanet Foundation President) 



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Sustainability Principle of Energy


Link here

 for examples of the application of Sustainability Principle. 
(List of symbol uses that promote acceptance/denial of stewardship amidst change.)

Link here
 for deeper discussion of key symbols - including

energy energy efficiency
global warming

Peak Oil
Exponential change








Quick reflections on movie HOME.

Saturday evening, 5.45pm, and the phone rings. It is Peter, an extraordinary man who has set up a radio network of microbroadcasters in the Wellington region of New Zealand so citizens can broadcast discussions and lectures on all manner of topics to their neighbourhoods. He asks if I have heard of a movie called HOME? I say no and he suggests I should watch it. He warns me I may disapprove of its commentary but says it contains most fabulous photography of our planet. 

We have not spoken to each other for several months and as is our want we immediately engaged in deep discussion about all manner of topics. Suddenly it is 6.25 and I have missed the bus to central Wellington city where I am due to dine with my son-in-law John at 7pm. Wellington, the Capital of NZ, is run by the mineral oil czars - cars rule and buses are an hour apart. I change into tidy clothes and run as fast as my 61 year old body will take me the two miles up and over the hills from Houghton Bay to Newtown, jump a bus downtown (standing room only) and am somehow seated with John in the restaurant at 7.07pm. 

John is excited. He is from Colombia, South America, and the mother of his child there had emailed him with the link to this amazing movie she had just watched on Utube. He had just watched it and was really keen that I and others should see it. It was in Spanish and he hoped there is an English translation of it. I was able to assure them there is and I, as of less than an hour ago, could provide the link. 

Such is the integrated and fragmented nature of our world. We can communicate our passions in microseconds around the planet and yet still use precious resources in most wasteful and barbaric ways. And this is a central message of the movie.

HOME is many tapestries within a tapestry celebrating the exquisite beauty that exists on this planet. The filmmakers create shifting layers of patterns, transposing and transforming, a visual reminder that all is change and in change there is great order and profusion.   

And amidst these layers of shifting patterns are layers of patterns caused by human activities. Cities unfurl like the branches on trees. Factories spew gases like volcanoes. Forests melt like the Arctic ice in the summer. Fields form geometric strata like crystals. The land glows with lights like the sky. One is transformed into the other amidst a universal flux, the ebb, flow and weave of the dance of energy, the rising and passing of all forms. The photography captures and celebrates the continual change in all its multitude of manifestations. It forms a potent reminder of the exquisite and bounteous creativity of existence even as it confronts us with the probable reality that we each have creative roles as stewards regardless of whether we accept or deny this truth.  

The photography is an amazing story, a timeless epic, a dynamic dance, a celebration of energy in all its bounty and variety.  As such it is testimony to the capacity of Homo sapiens to reflect and embrace the cosmic potential and I am grateful. 

The clear objective of the movie is to remind us that all is interconnected and we humans are part of the all. The film’s maker (Yann Arthus-Bertrand, GoodPlanet Foundation President) writes this letter on Utube enjoining us:

 GoodPlanet Fundation :

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 and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate. The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being. For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film. HOME has been made for you : share it! And act for the planet.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand, GoodPlanet Fundation President


HOME is a carbon offset movie

Subtitles :



Will HOME achieve its objectives? Perhaps it will if people view it without the sound and if they do not read Yann’s letter.  The GoodPlanet website has a movie forum which invites us to: 

“Debate and take action together

HOME aims to raise awareness on environmental problems and to encourage as many people as possible to take action.

We invite you to share ideas and to debate on environmental issues. Make suggestions and find a way to implement them together on this forum.

Leave scepticism to others and take action. And let’s make this forum a space that is 100% positive.”

I know I am at grave risk of being consigned to the bin with the “others” label on it, particularly by those who do not know or cannot accept the insights of my work.

In brief I accept the fact that Human Beings have a great capacity to transcend their egos and embrace their roles as stewards amidst change. I also accept the fact that we have an equally great capacity to deny our roles as stewards amidst change and can create very sophisticated mechanisms of self-deceit.  

I have a tool, the Sustainability Principle of Energy that enables us to transcend our egos and predict whether our use of key symbols will sustain or destroy us in the long term. I have used it to generate an inventory of symbol uses classified as to their tendency to reflect and generate acceptance or denial of reality (all is change). The inventory is an indicator of whether a symbol use enhances or destroys our capacity to experience the state of science. It is also an inventory of whether a symbol use reflects sanity or psychosis in the user. 

When I apply the Sustainability Principle to HOME I find it produces two profoundly different results. The photography evidences considerable science and sanity. The commentary actively destroys science and evidences considerable psychosis.  The former works to connect us with reality, the latter works to disconnect from reality. The former works to integrate our spirits with all, the latter works to disintegrate our spirits. In other words the commentary and the photography work against each other.

Examples are: 

The photography evokes marvellous images of the wondrous process by which our planetary system formed up in such away that there came into existence the thermodynamic balances required to enable life forms on Earth. It reflects the exquisite dance between continual global warming and global cooling that we enjoy. The commentary then denied all this by describing the loss of this dance as global warming and equated global warming with warming up, a recipe for misery. 

The photography evokes memorable images of mineral gas being flared off in a frame of trees, reminding us of the origins of fossil fuels. The commentary then described mineral oil as “oil” and “oil” as energy. Certainly oil in all its forms is energy and so is every other potential form in the universe(s). And every form of oil has a name.

The equation “mineral oil = energy” is the language of banker oligarchy who control the extraction and distribution of our fossil fuel resources.  The equation is in active denial of change for the burning of the resource to produce useful forms of energy almost invariably involves transformation of the atmosphere.  The scenes in the movie of mineral fuels being flared off clearly involve air and the use of the “mineral oil = energy” symbol actively excludes the atmosphere from the energy equation. 

The photography reflects a bounteous reality in which energy is continually transformed and is by its very nature constantly renewed. The commentary denies this reality by talking of stuff called “renewable energy”. If the Principle of the Conservation of Energy holds, then this talk is the stuff of psychosis. 

The photography captures the vast organic forces of Earth’s atmosphere. It reminds us of the powerful thermodynamics involved as we see how great cloud forms emerge and dissipate in brief moments and how water molecules are sustained and weave throughout the fabric of life for eons. The reality of Earth’s atmosphere is that it has mighty convective potential and the commentary denies this change. Instead the commentary evokes 19th Century Industrial Revolution images of the atmosphere as a greenhouse – a human construction in which air convection is suppressed and human activities are insulated from the vagaries and constraints of the local climate systems. 

The photography shows how life comes in myriad forms, the proof being the seen in the diversity that exists this day and in the shifting shades of the rocks. Life forms have persisted for four billion years through solar storms, ice ages and droughts. It is a story of resilience and invention. The commentary denies this and says our ecosystems are fragile and humans are destroying them. It could have avoided such denial by stating, if there was any need to, that humans are well capable of destroying the balances and flows of the ecosystems that sustain us, for indeed these are fragile in the moment. 

We also see the denial of change/stewardship in Yann’s letter. It states, HOME is a carbon offset movie”.

The photography provides ample reminder that fossil fuels and mineral oil in particular are very precious resources. It could not show mineral oil being formed, for that happened eons ago and may have happened only once in the life of our galaxy. Mineral oil is fossilised life forms processed during a set of unique geophysical events.  

The idea that humans can ever “offset” or “neutralise” the impacts of burning of such an extraordinary and potent resource is utterly delusional, symptomatic of the wider psychosis evidenced in the commentary. The wonderful photography and high ideals of the filmmakers become at great risk of being completely subverted by the insane ethos of the Carbon Traders. 

My friend Peter says the film will be only available on Youtube till the 16th of June. I could spot no mention of this limited viewing season on the Goodplanet website. Already probably tens of millions of people have watched the movie (English 2,115,927, French 2,359,335, Russian 99,824, Arabic 5,131 Spanish 529,529, German 890,28).

Statistics such as this can be meaningless with movies like this as often very well intentioned teachers show them to their classes.  

I hope my review encourages people to watch movie and view it with healthy scepticism. Much of the commentary is supportive of the photography but vital elements of it are in major dissonance with it. If the Sustainability Principle of Energy holds true then it predicts this dissonance will work to disempower and immobilise people. The unsustainable status quo will prevail. 

Someone wrote on Goodplanet

“The best idea of all is reducing our numbers… I can see why politicians..industry…scientists… don’t like idea .. do not dare propose this idea ” 

Perhaps it is not too late to add to the photographic catalogue of potentially sustainable options (solar driven cities, carbon sequestration devices, geothermal plant etc) at the end of the movie. Splice in scenes of condom factories and family planning clinics in Bangladesh where birth rates are plummeting despite the hostile odds. Splice in a comparison of the USA (birth rate 13.8 per 1000 people, mineral oil destruction rate 68.72 barrels a day per 1000 people compared to say China birth rate 14 and destruction rate of 5.73 barrels per 1000 people.) 

I noted someone left a very blunt comment on Goodplanet website concerning the commentator. As usual I cannot spot it second time around. The writer does not like the commentator and advises Yann in no uncertain terms to get rid of her. I am not advising this. However I am aware she adopts a pontificating tone at times. I am prone to doing this myself and know well how the light of interest instantly goes out in peoples’ eyes, whether they are young or old. At heart people feel they are capable of assembling information and believe they don’t need to be told how and what to do. 

In summary the photography manages to capture significant elements of the magic of this planet with its shifting patterns of activity The transposition of these patterns in the film creates glimpse of a world in which all that seems so different is actually very much the same. I thus found HOME a source of wonderment and awe and see our planet with fresh eyes.

The Sustainability Principle of Energy

Link here

 for examples of the application of Sustainability Principle. 
(List of symbol uses that promote acceptance/denial of stewardship amidst change.)


Return to Update Page

Return to the Welcome Page