Celebrating Earth Hour

Celebrating Earth Hour

This weekend I attended an amazing event at the National Geographic Museum! They were showing one of the last films of the Environmental Film Festival and holding a reception afterward with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to discuss the film and celebrate Earth Hour. I made a few connections, learned about environmental actions being taken around the world to mitigate climate change and experienced a beautiful film about how we are all connected to each other and to the Earth.


We Are Planetary

The film is titled “Planetary” and it began as the brainchild of two 15-year-old boys who could not convince their friends to read a book about humankind’s connectedness to the Earth. Fifteen years later, those two boys, now filmmakers, premiered this gorgeous film at SXSW and then in Washington, D.C. at the Environmental Film Festival. I was struck by the maturity they must have possessed to come up with the idea for this complex film; which covers human impact on the planet, spirituality, cultural differences, human dependence on wildlife, and how it all connects together; at only fifteen years old. I was also impressed by their dedication to stick with one idea for so long!




Watch the trailer for Planetary!


One idea that really struck me from the film was that humans have become disconnected from nature. Much of the population now lives in cities, where the only life they see, other than humans, is grass sticking out of the cracks in the sidewalks or pigeons. After living in this environment for so long, it can be easy to forget how much more is out there, how incredibly diverse the species of the Earth are, and how much humankind depends on them for survival. The film pointed out that we have more nonhuman cells than human cells in our own bodies. Without these nonhuman cells, which mainly consists of bacterial microbes, we would die. This is proof of our connectedness to the Earth. We are a part of it just as much as it is a part of us. By destroying it, we destroy ourselves.


After we watched the film, the director and a few panelists talked about the making of Planetary, which is how I learned the background story, and further discussed the themes presented in the film. The reception was a great place to meet people interested in the environment and conservation. We all received a WWF LED candle and counted down to Earth Hour! The lights were dimmed from 8:30-9:30pm in honor of the event.


My WWF candle


It’s unique experiences like this that make me even more glad I decided to spend this semester in Washington, D.C. If I had stayed at my university in Minnesota, I might never have even heard of Planetary, much less had the opportunity to attend the premiere with over 100 other people to discuss it and learn more from the filmmaker himself.

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