Blue Marble – a lyrical narrative for reviving our humanness and sense of belonging to planet Earth

Blue Marble 1972 NASA Apolo 17

This is our home, Al Gore

I have been thinking about writing this post since I left the movie theater accompanied by my friend Marie Johnson on Aug 4th. I postponed doing it so many times. Not today!

The new Al Gore movie, the unofficial name of the documentary – The Inconvenient Sequel: truth to power – is worth talking about and watching again. At this point, everyone has a comment, or an opinion, and your own point of view about the movie in favor of or against joining the art critics’ club or the ranking pages.

If it is about money, Forbes’ contributor Scott Mendelson said that in 24 days the documentary earned a total of $2.95 million at the box office. If it’s a lot or not, depends on which reference you’re using. He used the blockbuster hit – Wonder Woman – as a reference. Wrong choice, I think. It is not sound to confront documentaries vis a vis blockbusters and then say that the former “plunged” according to Mr. Mendelson, because the latter earned worldwide $800 million.

I’m done with numbers. They can be the centerpiece of another post. In this one, I want to express my personal sense about a documentary with so many layers – climate advocacy and activism, climate negotiation, climate innovation and technology, climate agreements, climate risks and disasters, climate ethics and justice, and so on. One can read just one of the layers and, still, will have a sense of the documentary as a whole. Good work on the script and production, I must say!

Blue Marble – I am choosing to talk about one of the layers, which is for me, the thread conducting the lyrical narrative of Al Gore movie. This lyrical narrative is an appealing emotional message urging humans to gain a sense of belonging to Planet Earth as Our Home. In doing so it could arise a sentiment of protection and care that will lead to actions towards fighting climate change and implementing a transition into a low or net carbon society and a sustainable future.

How the narrator – Al Gore, himself in the documentary – introduces the lyrical narrative. What was the element to hook the viewer? I would never have expected it to be the “Blue Marble” – a unique image of the Earth far out in the cosmos, taken by Apollo 17, in 1972, and the story about the picture in Al Gore’s office.

From time to time during the documentary, the narrator Al Gore brings back the story of that frame and his relationship with that image. The impressions of the picture on Al Gore and what it meant to him led to DSCOVRDeep Space Climate Observatory – launched by NASA in 2015, and, today, a NOAA space weather satellite known as well as GoreSat. Today, many pictures of the whole planet Earth are available, including one showing the shadow of the Moon cast on Earth, and lots of data about weather conditions and climate.

Before Blue Marble, the view that immersed me in the universe was the one I saw on my family tv screen when I was about to enter my teens. Prior to landing on the Moon, Apollo 11 sent images of Earth as half globe picture – how beautiful that was!Earth from Moon Apollo 11

Earth from space – I was experiencing, at that time, the Overview Effect, and I guess Al Gore was touched by that too. The Overview Effect was described by Frank White in 1987 in his book The Overview Effect — Space Exploration and Human Evolution.

According to White, the Overview Effect is an experience that carries in itself the potential to affect perceptions of the world and humanity after viewing the Earth from space and from the Moon. A spin-off of the book is the short film Overview released in December 2012 by the Overview Institute.

In that film, astronauts and cosmonauts explain their perceptions and attitudes towards the planet and a sustainable future. If you want to watch the 17-minute film on how the phenomenon changes perception, click on the link below.

… when we look down on the Earth from space, we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet … It looks like a living, breathing organism. But it also at the same time looks extremely fragile …

Ron Garan, Overview,
ISS astronaut and founder of humanitarian organization Fragile Oasis

… come up with a new story, a new picture, a new way to approach this and to shift our behaviors in a such a way that leads to a sustainable approach to our civilization as oppose to a destructive approach …

Edgar Michell, Overview,
Apollo Astronaut

Credit photos: Blue Marble, from NASA, and Earthrise viewed from lunar orbit prior to landing, from Apollo 11 Image Gallery.