An inspiring new film series by Conservation International has given Nature a voice. And, it sounds like an impressive group of a-list actors: Julia Roberts is Mother Nature, Kevin Spacey is the Rainforest, Edward Norton is the Soil, Harrison Ford is the Ocean, Penelope Cruise is the Water, and Robert Redford is the Redwood. Wow, green filmmakers are a go! This latest awareness campaign has anchored the communicative power of film, as well as the familiarity & mass appeal of the recruited top-of-the-line actors, to effectively raise awareness on environmental issues. So, what would nature say if it could speak to us? These short films have the answers, and the popular voices behind Nature’s personification makes them undeniably easy to listen to.
Lee Clow, longtime Apple ad man as well as the mastermind behind this series, speaks to the use of film and popular actors as a most effective mode of communication for the issues at hand. Of the series, he is quoted as saying,”if you want a lot of people to care about what you care about you need to hit an emotional chord that isn’t based on fear or heavy-handed tactics”.
This is why Clow asserts that it was most important to develop the tone and feel of the campaign alongside those who best know the parameters of emotion and communication within a context of storytelling – the actors. “The participation and help of the actors was very welcome whether it was Harrison or Ed Norton finding the voice of the soil that feels like it’s being treated like dirt”, says Clow.
Harrison Ford in particular, had a great impact in developing the campaign itself as well as in getting the other actors on board. He has been involved with Conservation International for more than 20 years, and is now vice-chair on its board of directors. According to Clow, “The tone of voice started with the Ocean script—some are softer, some are edgier—but that one set the tone and it was developed with Harrison.”
Though all of the related films exert a cautionary and ominous tone, Clow explains that the aim of the series is to re-frame the environmental debate, while highlighting the self-reflective choice that humans have at current: “we need to take care of nature because it gives us everything. It’s in our own enlightened self-interest.” And, according to Conservation International, there are things that we can manage, control, and do responsibly, that will allow us and the planet to evolve together.
Green filmmaking behind the screen, is certainly one of the things we can do to manage and control our evolution alongside the planet. Green filmmaking on the screen however, is just as important as it is a most effective tool for communication of the important issues. It’s clear that Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Harrison Ford, Penelope Cruise, and Robert Redford, would agree.
Where do you stand? As Robert’s Mother Nature clearly asserts and asks: “I am prepared to evolve. Are you?”
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