Healing the Earth

Recording: Healing the Earth

Filmmaker and ecologist John Liu explains – and shows with film fragments – why landscape restoration matters and why it needs urgent implementation. Healthy landscapes provide us with food, water, clean air, a stable climate, biodiversity, good health, security and happiness. However, a quarter of the world’s land mass is seriously degraded from centuries of deforestation, overgrazing, overexploitation, the building of infrastructure and pollution. Wars and migration are consequences of these problems.

John will tell the story of how a degraded area in China, the size of the Netherlands, was successfully restored in a short time. Millennia ago this region was very fertile and lush with vegetation. Over the centuries, the Chinese used up these resources unsustainably while unaware that it was their own actions that eroded a once green landscape into a ‘moon like’ landscape, causing loss of biodiversity, poverty and famine. John Liu  shows how it has been possible to restore this large-scale damaged ecosystem in a very short time. The soil was rebuilt, biodiversity came back, while farmers were able to triple their income and hope and inspiration returned to the communities. The farmers, the Chinese government and the financer, the World Bank, were astounded by the success. John Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits for people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally.

The Great Work of Our Time: Healing the Earth

At certain times in human history the generations alive at the time are called upon to perform heroic deeds. Imagine the transition from “Flat Earth” to “Round Earth” or the end of slavery. Today, we face just such a moment. Human progress and possibly human survival depend on our understanding and actions at this time.

Problems like land degradation, biodiversity loss, toxic pollution and climate change affecting everyone have been sublimated for the short-term profit of a few. Human population is growing by one billion people every twelve years. We are aware that the materialistic mainstream culture is corrupt and corrupting, it does not satisfy and is not sustainable. Everyone feels the tension as the violent fringe strikes at the heart of civilization.

Yet for all our problems, the conditions are ripe for humanity to move to a new level of consciousness. If we realize, that knowledge and generosity yield much better outcomes than ignorance and greed, we can work together for mutual benefit. Restoring large-scale degraded landscapes and ecological function is more valuable than everything that has ever been bought and sold. This knowledge is a responsibility. We now have the technology to make the sum of human knowledge available to every human being on the planet simultaneously and instantaneously. We are called to restore the Earth and the Human Spirit. This is the Great Work of our Time.

Documentary Green Gold

In the 2012 VPRO Tegenlicht documentary Green Gold, John Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits to people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally. The film takes you to China, Jordan, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Bolivia, and features the PRI’s own Geoff Lawton, who adds impetus and technical know-how to John’s impressive toolbox.

It’s the story of healing landscapes at scale, and, with it, restoring life, livelihoods, security and a future. This documentary is not just a tale of hope, it’s evidence of hope – it’s proof that we do not need to give in to apathy and despair. Instead, we see we have the simple solutions right in front of us. Watch it online at http://tegenlicht.vpro.nl/afleveringen/2011-2012/Groen-Goud.html

John Liu

John D. Liu is a Chinese-American filmmaker and ecologist. Following 15 years as a television news producer and cameraman for CBS News and other international television networks, he made a decision to devote the rest of his life to understanding and communicating about the Earth’s natural ecosystems. He produced many ecological films including: Hope in a Changing Climate, The Great work of Our Time and The Art of Healing the Earth. His films have been shown on BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Central Chinese Television and many other networks around the world. John Liu is Director of the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP), Ecosystem Ambassador for the Commonland Foundation and a visiting research fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (NIOO/KNAW). More information: commonland.com. John’s published works are mostly available at: https://knaw.academia.edu/JohnDLiu

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