Released on the 40th anniversary of Apollo 17′s iconic Blue Marble photograph, Overview is a short film that examines the peculiar cognitive shift experienced by many who have been to space. The 15-minute piece draws upon insights from astronauts, philosophers, and authors to explore how perspective can drastically change the way people think about their relationship with the world. Tightly paced and expertly scored by the Human Suits, I found Overview to be an accessible and thought-provoking documentary that conveys the necessity of considering the big picture if we are to forge a sustainable future.
I recently came across this short film created by a group called the Planetary Collective and was immediately captivated by what astronauts, philosophers, and authors described as the “Overview Effect”:
A full piece exploring the ideas and themes of the film will be up on Ekostories in a few weeks. I wanted to share this now because the group is doing a Kickstarter for a full-length feature titled Continuum that is due in a week or so, and I figured they could use some exposure. If Overview is any indication of quality, Continuum is going to be one fascinating and thought-provoking documentary.
You can learn more about the project at The Planetary Collective Presents: Continuum.
While researching for my recent entry on Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, I came across this Vancouver TEDx conference talk presented last November. Reid Gower, one of the millions inspired by the late scientist’s groundbreaking series in the 80′s, recognized the potential of Sagan’s storytelling ability to resonate with a new generation. In the Sagan Series, he extracted short powerful narratives from the audiobook version of Pale Blue Dot and combined them with modern imagery and music. The result is a series of videos that are deeply inspirational and soul-stirring. They embody Sagan’s earnest desire for humanity to understand the fragility and appreciate the wonder of “this mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam”, the pale blue dot we all call home.
The following chapter in the series, End of an Era: The Final Shuttle Launch, is my favourite:
The rest of the chapters can be viewed HERE at the Sagan Series.
As someone fascinated by worlds real or fictional, I was ecstatic to hear about the landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars. News of the successful touchdown represents a great triumph for the downsized agency and helped to rekindle my own interest in looking to the heavens. I sometimes have trouble communicating my passion of the cosmos to others. People occasionally ask: Why is space exploration important? As an environmentalist, shouldn’t you deal with all the problems we have here on Earth before worrying about the stars?
What good is it all?
Fortunately, there are other much more capable and articulate communicators out there to address these legitimate questions – People like Carl Sagan. One of the world’s most well-known astronomer, astrophysicist, and science popularizer, Sagan’s ability to captivate millions with his Pulitzer-winning Cosmos and the subsequent TV series of the same name is no small feat. It takes an extraordinary storyteller to distill esoteric knowledge down to digestible form and transform it into meaningful and inspiring messages for people of different ages and backgrounds.
I came across Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space several years ago. Within its pages, I found the voice of a passionate spirit who understands the significance of space exploration for humanity. Pale Blue Dot is not just about one man’s call to look ever outward. It is also a thoughtful contemplation of humanity’s place on this planet, on this speck of dust we call home. The themes and connections found throughout this book make it, in my opinion, a very powerful Ekostory.