Normal is Over is a documentary that uncovers the financial and economic paradigm underlying our planetary problems

The budget required for project ‘Save Civilization’ is estimated to be 1/3 of the U.S. Military Budget, which at the time of making this documentary was set at $598bn – this is according to Prof. Lester R. Brown, founder of the Worldwatch and Earth Policy institutes. And if you think about it, it’s a one-time investment with a handsome return.

Normal is Over is by no means the first documentary about environmental degradation, the evil’s of economic globalisation and our grotesque relationship with consumption – but it differs in that it uncovers the financial and economic paradigm underlying our planetary problems and it intends to inspire and motivate positive thinking and action by showing that there are real solutions, being carried out by ‘real’ people despite the overwhelming issues to address.

Shot over a period of five years, this award-winning film documents the incredible journey taken by investigative journalist, Renee Scheltema, as she goes on a global search to find out what’s going wrong and if it can be fixed. She shares the ideas of some of the world’s finest contemporary thinkers, the likes of Prof. Lester Brown, Dr Ian McCullum, Dr Vandana Shiva, Prof. Bernard Lietaer, Charles Eisenstein and a host of others.

The film recounts how human habits of consumption, the industrialisation and control of our food production and the use of a ‘single currency-positive interest rate’ economic system have brought about species extinction, climate change and the depletion of critical natural resources.

There is an element of myth-busting that takes place in this story too. The panel of economic experts all conclude that the current monetary system is absolutely unsustainable because of the consequence of widening the inequality gap, primarily through positive interest rates and a debt currency. In the film they propose some very exciting and feasible alternatives to this economic model that can offer hope of salvation to the world and benefit the other 99%. Normal is Over gives heaps of validation to the ‘green fight’ and offers well thought out strategies on how best to tackle it.

It is definitely worth a watch for those starting out on an exploratory understanding of global exploitation and decline. But equally so for those suffering from Green Fatigue because it offers new perspective and with it, hope. It’s surprisingly entertaining for a documentary offering rich visuals along with intelligent and humorous banter between Renee and her guests.

To find out more about screenings, organising a screening or how to stream the film please go to http://normalisoverthemovie.com/

Kanyisa Psychoactive Plant Conference

 

While visiting South Africa in 2012, Julian Palmer, psychoactive plant expert and spiritual trip guide, quickly realised there was a substantially large enough ‘plant medicine’ community here to warrant a Psychoactive Plant Conference.

Khanyisa’s vision is to bring forth knowledge of psychoactive plant use across the continent of Africa by encouraging research and sharing cutting edge and innovative methods to use the plants, as practiced globally. This will assist us to understand the great healing potential locked within the plant kingdom, for all to experience and use these plants in a safe and beneficial way.

Enjoy this in-depth look into the world of psychoactive healing and the people who practice it.

The Bushman – A Photographic and Prosaic Celebration of the Last of the True Ancestors of Southern Africa

The Bushman – A photographic and prosaic celebration of the last of the true ancestors of Southern Africa

It is rare to come face to face with a true Khoi-San and to celebrate their wisdom and beauty in the natural habitat that has preserved and nourished them for centuries. Phillipa Logan had such a privilege. She has graciously shared this work with Life in Balance and we recommend you have a look at her magnificent images and revel in the insights of this experience.

By Phillipa Logan

 

 

The Story of the Chinese Farmer

Posted by Chris Agnos on Films for Action

“The whole process of nature is a process of immense complexity and it is really impossible to tell whether something that happens in it is good or bad.” A parable about life and nature narrated by Alan Watts, animated by Steve Agnos, and with music by Chris Zabriskie.

Words of Wonder: Openings to the Natural World

By Caspar Henderson, Featured on the Ecologist

All too often language is used to objectify nature, writes Caspar Henderson. But there’s another, older vocabulary – introduced in this ‘counter-desecration phrasebook’ – that achieves the reverse: connecting us with the wonders of life and arousing delight in the natural world.

“The hollows of its trees were routes to other planets, its subterrane flowed with streams of silver, and its woods were threaded through with filaments of magical force. Within it children could shape-shift into bird, leaf, fish or water.”

Bedwos, crundle,rionnach maoim. Jammed against each other like pieces of rotting crud in landfill, the words may sound like nonsense – a line of Vogon poetry fromThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But come closer, unfold them and listen.

Bedwos is a Welsh word for a grove of birch trees. Crundle, in the dialect of Hampshire and Sussex, means a thicket in a hollow through which a stream leads. The Gaelic phrase rionnach maoimrefers to the shadows cast on moorland by cumulus clouds moving across the sky on a bright and windy day.

Each denotes a capacity for attention, an echo of a life-way, in which, just possibly, ever-living joy and worth beyond price can be found.

That, at least, is the idea behind a project which Robert Macfarlane, one of Britain’s leading Nature writers, envisages in the introduction to Landmarks;

“We need now, urgently, a Counter-Desecration Phrasebook that would comprehend the world, a glossary of enchantment for the whole Earth which would allow Nature to talk back and would help us to listen.”

A delight and a fascination

And, interspersed through a set of eleven essays about some of the greatest writers in English about Nature and place, that is what he offers in this remarkable new book. In Landmarks, each stratum of a lexico-poetico-meteorologico-aesthetico Berlitz abuts a seam of ecologico-topographico-critico-politico belles-lettres.

As a phrasebook or glossary, Landmarks is a delight and a fascination. Its lumbering size and structure will, however, limit its use in the field. If you want to know the meaning ofglaab or wetchered, there is no overall index to show which sub-section of the nine completed sections – on Flatlands, Uplands, Waterlands, Coastlands, Underlands, Northlands, Edgelands, Earthlands and Woodlands – contains it.

Glaab, by the way, is a Shetland word for an opening between hills or between islands through which a distant object may be seen, while wetchered is what they say in Lincolnshire when you are wet through after being caught out in the rain.

The essays are vintage Macfarlane. They are studies of and reactions to the work of Nan Shepherd, the author of The Living Mountain, about her life in the Cairngorm mountains; Roger Deakin, who swam and wooded through the imaginations of millions of readers; J. A. Baker, obsessive of the peregrine falcon; and Richard Jefferies, Jacquetta Hawkes, John Muir and others less well known, including Peter Davidson and Richard Skelton.

Earlier versions of many of these pieces have appeared as introductions to new editions of works by these authors. (The introduction to Landmarks itself is a development of an influential essay first published in 2010.) They will be a great resource for those coming to them for the first time, and for others will richly repay rereading.

The ‘re-wonderment’ that language can bestow

Language isn’t thought, but it is a tool for thought, says the anthropologist and linguist Daniel L. Everett. But the power of this tool, for good or ill, should not be underestimated. Language that objectifies has, as Macfarlane writes, largely stunned the Earth out of wonder, facilitating the rendition of all living things and natural systems into a standing reserve ripe for exploitation.

But language is also “fundamental to the possibility of re-wonderment, for language does not just register experience, it produces it.”

And while every generation bears the weight of the past, it also creates new spaces of possibility. Preceding an astonishing revelation in the postscript to the book is a marvellous final chapter, drawing on work by Deb Wilenski and her colleagues, about the minds and words of children allowed to run free in a country park in north Cambridgeshire. As Macfarlane describes it,

“no map of it could ever be complete, for new stories seethed up from its soil, and its surfaces could give way at any moment. The hollows of its trees were routes to other planets, its subterrane flowed with streams of silver, and its woods were threaded through with filaments of magical force. Within it children could shape-shift into bird, leaf, fish or water.”

The book:Landmarks‘ by Robert Macfarlane is published by Hamish Hamilton, 2015.

Caspar Henderson is the author of ‘The Book of Barely Imagined Beings‘ and is currently writing ‘A New Map of Wonders’.

This article was originally published in Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine Issue 290 May/June 2015.

If You’re Feeling Sad About the State of the World, Listen to These Wise Words from Eisenstein

By Sophie McAdam on True Activist

‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible’ is a short film featuring Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and The Ascent of Humanity. Produced by Sustainable Human and with stunning direction by Ian MacKenzie, it is an incredibly sad, yet hopeful, video.

Filmed at dusk on a beautiful Scottish beach, Eisenstein is captured in a moment of grief and reflection. The familiar story of the past is crumbling, while the new story has yet to arrive. In a time of social and ecological crisis, what can we as individuals do in this space between? “In order to find your way, you must get lost,” Eisenstein advises, pointing out: “There’s a vast territory for what we’re leaving behind, and where we want to go. We don’t have any maps for that journey.”

Eisenstein has some wise words to say about the dire state of the modern world, touching on many issues such as the media’s role in society and the destructive military-industrial complex. He wonders philosophically how humans can treat each other so badly (could the perpetrators also be victims?).

But here’s the good news: “I think the ideological core of our civilization is hollowing out.” Good news, because we can fill this void with something more sustainable, something more profound. But Einsenstein tells us to bear this in mind: “A movement is not something one can create. A movement creates us.”

This is a very thought-provoking, touching and soothing film, despite the tragic subject matter of a dying biosphere.
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50 Awesome Art, Music and Culture Documentaries Full-Length and Free on YouTube

By Glenn Hickling on Creative Boom

Watching documentaries is a healthy pursuit for creatives: it fills your brain with more dots to join up, and can make you feel more arty and up for it just from being in the ‘company’ of masterpiece-makers such as Banksy, George Harrison and Matt Groening.

If you must procrastinate, do it proactively. Check out this list of 50 super interesting docs instantly streamable on Youtube, all of them produced by reputable outfits like the BBC, Discovery Channel and Martin Scorcese (yes, the Stones movie is on there).

Art

1. Exit Through The Gift Shop: A Banksy Film
Banksy’s witty, subversive movie project. Starts as a straight up documentary and goes on a wonderful quirky tangent. 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, feature length on YouTube for free!
Watch the Video

2. Picasso Love Sex and Art
Influential Cubist, Surrealist and genius who couldn’t keep it in his pants…a 20th century hero laid bare by the BBC.
Watch the Video

3. Style Wars
Seminal 1983 doc on the graffiti epidemic in New York, a city where graffiti is a vocation, handed down through the generations.
Watch the Video

4. The Art Hitler Hated: The Sins of the Fathers
The eye-opening story of the art movement that the Nazi’s banned, labelling it ‘degenerate.’
Watch the Video

5. Andy Warhol: Master of the Modern Era
Explaining how Warhol is a key influence of everything from music videos, and reality TV to Facebook.
Watch the Video

6. How Art Made the World
5-part BBC series delving into how without art, the human experience would be completely different. Full of interesting insights into humankind’s relationship with images.
Watch the Video

7. The World’s Most Expensive Stolen Paintings
Every year, more than 100,000 paintings are stolen from homes and galleries…this doc dives into the hows and therefores of major heists.
Watch the Video

8. Salvador Dali: Master of Modern Era
From anxious, troubled childhood to Freudian, rhino-obsessed king of surrealism.
Watch the Video

9. Treasures of the Louvre
Cracking history of the Louvre that captures the spirit of the Renaissance movement.
Watch the Video

10. Raphael: A Mortal God
Ace BBC dramatized doc on a mission to find the ‘real Raphael.’
Watch the Video

11. The Medici: Makers of Modern Art
How the Medici family transformed Florence through sculpture, painting and architecture and created a world where masterpieces fetch millions today.
Watch the Video

12. Paradise Found: Islamic Architecture and Arts
Interesting piece on Islamic Renaissance Men, their creations, how they influenced European art.
Watch the Video

13. Roy Lichtenstein
The life and times of the New York pop artist who was heavily influenced by comic books and ad campaigns.
Watch the Video

Music

14. The Distortion of Sound
Short film about how digital media affects the listening experience, compared to tangible media like vinyl and CDs. 20 mins. Essential viewing.
Watch the Video

15. How the Beatles Rocked The Kremlin
Intriguing film about the Beatles’ pivotal role in liberating Russians and bringing about the end of the Cold War.
Watch the Video

16. It Might Get Loud
Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge get together to discuss guitars and rock music, and have a bit of a jam. The opening scene features Jack building a guitar out of a coke bottle and a bit of driftwood, and it gets even better…insightful and delightful!
Watch the Video

17. Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap
An intimate journey into the heart and soul of hip-hop with the legends of rap. 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. An important film.
Watch the Video

18. Rolling Stones: Shine a Light
Martin Scorcese’s Stones film, full length for free on Youtube.
Watch the Video

19. George Harrison Living in the Material World
Scorcese’s feature length doc on George, not the most lauded of the Beatles, but probably the one who lived the most interesting life.
Watch the Video

20. A Year with Armin Van Buuren
Ever wondered what the life of a bona fide superstar DJ is like? Follow Armin round for a year and find out. In Dutch, with subtitles. Really enjoyable.
Watch the Video

21. Northern Soul: Living for the Weekend
Northern Soul is so hot right now, popping up everywhere, influencing new songs and many an ad campaign. Here’s 2014’s take on the full story of what it is and what it means…
Watch the Video

22. Northern Soul: This is England
…and here’s a 30-min Granada TV doc from the 70’s, when Wigan Casino was in full swing and going dancing all night was regarded as shockingly indecent.
Watch the Video

23. Soul Survivor: The James Brown Story
Feature length doc on the hardest working man in showbiz, who really did pay the cost to be da boss. Epic rags to riches tale.
Watch the Video

24. Queens of Disco
BBC doc on the story of disco, told through a prism of the divas who sung those still-popular and oft-sampled songs e.g. Gloria Gaynor. Without disco, the contemporary music landscape would look very different: people said it was dead, people said it sucked -but it’s never really gone away.
Watch the Video

25. The Legend of Woodstock 1969
The story of the legendary 3 day music festival attended by 400,000 young American hippies, with music from Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who, amongst many others.
Watch the Video

Culture

26. Shakespeare’s Mother the Secret Life of a Tudor Woman
Shakespeare’s mom has got it going on…this BBC doc proves we know much more about the Bard than is popularly believed. Essential. Down tools and watch now.
Watch the Video

27. The Secret World of Lewis Carroll
In-depth look at the creator of Alice in Wonderland, a huge influence on everyone from John Lennon to James Joyce, and beloved by billions of children worldwide.
Watch the Video

28. Sincerely, F Scott Fitzgerald
Super-interesting bio: the somewhat bumpy ride of the 20s lit icon’s life, told through studying letters he wrote to his daughter, wife and editor. Simply brilliant.
Watch the Video

29. Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: Paris
Paris in 1928, the high point of an unusually creative decade, where one city was home to all the key artists and thinkers of the day. With Hemingway, Gershwin and Cole Porter lording it up, this is the story of ‘the bash before the crash’… makes you feel more artistic just for watching…
Watch the Video

30. Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human
If Nietzsche is a name you’ve heard of, but you don’t know much about, check out this sharp BBC doc on the influential existential philosopher/ author.
Watch the Video

31. Imagine – From Pencils to Pixels
2003 BBC doc on the rise of Pixar and the inner workings of the creative powerhouse.
Watch the Video

32. My Wasted Life: Matt Groening
One hour up close and personal with the creator of the Simpsons, talking inspirations, motivations and influences.
Watch the Video

33. The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets
Illuminating talk explaining how the Simpsons creative team is full of maths geeks, and highlighting their habit of slipping mathematical in-jokes into the show.
Watch the Video

34. BBC Culture Show: The Mormons are Here
South Park geniuses Parker and Stone take us behind the scenes of the Book of Mormon, and also discuss Mormonism.
Watch the Video

35. That’s Not Funny
Really interesting doc on the premise that with comedy, there’s a line between funny and bad taste. This 2014 doc goes in search of the line, to analyse it.
Watch the Video

36. Dream Interpretation
Cutting-edge experiments and anecdotal evidence on the hunt to find out, where do dreams come from? Do they have meaning? And ultimately, why do we dream?
Watch the Video

37. Planet B-Boy
Feature length global perspective on competitive breakdance culture, following breakers from the USA and Korea as they compete at what’s essentially the World Cup of breakdancing.
Watch the Video

38. The Story of Musicals
Ace BBC4 doc on How West End theatre came to be dominated by musicals, from World War II to the present day.
Watch the Video

39. The Real Blow Up Sixties: Fame, Fashion and Photography
Swinging London, when fashion photography comes of age, and photographers become as famous as pops stars…
Watch the Video

40. The Saatchi and Saatchi Story
Taking you on a rollercoaster ride from the legendary agency’s inception in the 70s to the ‘split’ in 1995, when M&C Saatchi was set up.
Watch the Video

41. Treasures of New York: Building Stories
Private life and creative process of Costas Kondylis, a modern architect thought to have more influence over the NYC skyline that any other.
Watch the Video

42. Great Britons: Isambard Kingdom Brunel
The most creative Brit who ever lived? Check out this awesome doc on the works of multi-talented designer IKB. Bridges, ships, buildings…easy. What a man. Legend.
Watch the Video

43. 10 Lost Cities That Have Been Found
Fascinating rundown of long lost towns that have been found during excavation.
Watch the Video

44. Peter Ackroyd’s London
London’s best biographer has written several epic, 500-page lurid histories of the capital, but did you know he’d also condensed them into a documentary series? Essential viewing for all London-lovers.
Watch the Video

45. The Bizarre World of Ancient Greece
BBC doc on the lifestyles of the people who set the blueprint for civilisation as we know it…
Watch the Video

46. Sex in the Ancient World
The sex secrets of Ancient Egyptians, inc. the Turin Erotic Papyrus…ooo er.
Watch the Video

47. World’ Strongest Materials
The latest innovations in materials. From bacteria that can make gasoline to gossamer thread that can hold up bridges.
Watch the Video

48. The Next Black: The Future of Clothing
Innovative fashion companies discuss 21st century garms, inc. sustainability, wearable tech and biocuture, which means growing clothing. Sound crazy? Embrace the future.
Watch the Video

49. Future of Glasses, Wearable Technology 2015
From wearable robots to give us super strength, to machines that can read our minds…
Watch the Video

50. Bionics, Transhumanism, and the end of Evolution
Scary Discovery Channel doc on how the human race is on its way out and we’re all becoming cyborgs.
Watch the Video

 

So there you go, proof that procrastination can be inspiration. Just be sure to set a time limit! Enjoy!

Things to do in Moer & Gone Places

By Lia Labuschagne

Things to do in Moer & Gone Places by Jacques Marais

Moer & Gone Places

‘It is a feeling. It is that immaculate sense of headspace that you get when you realise that you have – against all odds in our crowded contemporary world – managed to get away from it all.’ This is how author Jacques Marais explains the colloquial South African expression ‘moer & gone’. He has found 102 of the best places in Southern Africa (in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique) that most fit this description. Here one can leave behind traffic noise, crowds and WI-FI connectivity, and find opportunities to get back in touch with Mother Nature and enjoy outdoor activities away from it all.

The destinations are listed in alphabetical order, with important information about features and how to get there, accommodation (contact details and GPS coordinates are provided for each), and the reasons to visit. Activities covered range from hiking, biking, scenic day or night drives, motor-biking, stargazing, bird watching, running, fishing, water sport, 4×4 routes and rock climbing, to discovering more about local culture and history.

If you like being outdoors, include this guide when you pack your vehicle for your next adventure.

Map Studio ISBN 978 1 770026 649-0

Gardening for Butterflies

By Lia Labuschagne

Gardening for Butterflies by Steve Woodhall & Linday Gray

Gardening for Butterflies

Here is something to help us plan and plant our outdoor spaces so that they invite butterflies and moths to visit. Butterflies are a sign of healthy gardens and this book explains how to make the adjustments that will attract these insects. The contents was planned in a way that provides one all the background information and practical advice you need. It starts with a discussion about ecosystems and gardens as a conservation tool, and then covers 95 butterflies and moths, with descriptions and the authors’ own excellent photographs of their full life cycles – from egg to caterpillar, pupa and butterfly. Each description includes notes about their behaviour and the plants that are most likely to attract them.

The authors then provide details about how to structure a garden and include the essential elements to attract butterflies. A case study of how such a garden was planned in KwaZulu-Natal, examples of mature butterfly gardens, as well as information on further reading, make this a hands-on guide that will inspire gardeners to cater for fluttering beauties.

Struik Nature ISBN 978-1-77584-124-1

How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping Our Future

By Lia Labuschagne

Elon Musk – How the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our future by Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk

Thinking green has become not only the right thing to do, but also profitable in the right hands. Concepts about a green economy become increasingly important for governments, in company boardrooms, and in our homes. More and more people want to drive an electric car and get off grid using electricity sources. Indeed, sustainable living is increasingly THE thing to do.

One person who thinks very big and aims high when it comes to sustainability, both in terms of transportation and electricity generation, is Elon Musk. And those are but two of the fields in which he is achieving remarkable success. The boy who originally came from Pretoria and was bullied at school, left South Africa for Canada as a teenager and thereafter went to the USA where he has become an international sensation as probably the world’s most important current entrepreneur.

Ashlee Vance looks at the life thus far of the man behind PayPal (internet payment systems), SpaceX (space rockets and exploration), Tesla (electric cars) and Solar City (solar energy).

Still only in his forties, Musk has proven that ground-breaking technologies can become successful businesses if driven by a passionate leader. Yet his obsessions have also demanded much from his relationships with family and work associates and this biography tells about the highs and lows of the life of someone whose success stories are likely to continue to remain in the news and amaze us all.

Virgin Books, ISBN 978 0 75355-563-1