The movie makes such a visceral, dramatic argument that our wasteful, throwaway culture is really responsible for burying us, drowning us and choking us all, with no saviors in sight. And in the meantime, it is clear that whether garbage pickers in dumps or sea turtles, the first and most profoundly affected by our filth are the least powerful and privileged. If we don’t want to deal with reusing or re-purposing something, we toss it away out of sight (and out of mind). Ultimately, though, this solid waste ends up burned, buried or just dumped. Where the waste meets water or air, pollutants from our highly engineered and toxic effluvia spread there too. And the chemicals in question end up in all of our blood, the effects of which are still being determined.
It is a global conversation from Iceland to Indonesia between the film star Jeremy Irons and scientists, politicians and ordinary individuals whose health and livelihoods have been fundamentally affected by waste pollution. Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and beautiful: an interplay of human interest and political wake-up call. But it ends on a message of hope: showing how the risks to our survival can easily be averted through sustainable approaches that provide far more employment than the current 'waste industry.'
"If you want things to change, you can really do it. We are responsible for the Earth, you and me. Not tomorrow, but today." - Yann Arthus-Bertrand