Day 38: Fragile Earth in Wide Angle

Yann Arthus Bertrand is possibly the world’s most famous aerial photographer. His images aren’t always beautiful, as he aims to use imagery to highlight the many problems facing the world and its environment. It’s a powerful tool, as can be seen when he showcases his three most recent projects in this talk.

The series, ‘Earth from Above’, is a UN sponsored ecological project led by Bertrand. It is the result of almost ten years of travel and to date has been seen by over 200 million people and converted to a film in France. Here are some of the images Bertrand shows in this talk, as well as the thought-provoking caption accompanying each;
– A coral reef in New Caledonia. 100% of this may be gone by 2050 due to global warming.
– The North Pole. A new link has opened between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans due to climate change.
– The new ice-less face of Kilimanjaro. Within 100 years all of the glaciers may be gone.
– Village in Africa. 1 billion people in the world still haven’t got enough to eat.
– A refugee camp in Darfur. There are 50 million refugees in the world.
– A palm tree plantation in Borneo. Every year we lose 50,000 square miles in deforestation.

These are sobering facts to accompany amazing photographs. But landscape alone doesn’t tell a story; people do. As a showcase film for Pangea Day 2008 (the TED wish of Jehane Noujaim), he made ‘6 Billion others.’ The aim of this was to promote understanding between people. Over 5000 people were filmed talking about their lives, often in their native language. This talk features some of the footage.

Bertrand ends by speaking about his next project, ‘Home’, a movie filmed in 50 countries which he describes as a survey of the past and solutions for a better world. This was distributed free of charge and is currently available on YouTube.


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