Last night was spent with Bruce Parry, at The Eden Project. He was showing his new film, Tawai. Bruce has spent years working on this project, hoping to reach our hearts with this story. This film is no comparison to his TV shows on the BBC. I’ve watched Bruce Parry for years, and love what he has brought to the screen. But this film was an entirely new experience – one I felt a deep connection to.
Upon arrival, guests were gathered in the canopy of the rainforest biome. We were treated with canapes made from jungle food – and donuts. Bruce introduced himself and his project, then took us on a meditative journey to connect with our surrounding environment and try to become more aware of our relationship with one another. After a long and somewhat stressful winter, this short time spent in a tropical environment, being led on a journey with Bruce Parry, stirred my soul and brought a sense of peace to my evening.
In all the years Bruce has spent with tribal people, his experiences have had a profound effect on the way he thinks about his lifestyle. In Tawai, the individuals he interviews from the Penan tribe in Borneo – many of whom he previously met in his years filming Tribe – are struggling. These nomadic hunter-gatherers rely on the rainforest to supply them with food and resources. Their way of life has always remained gentle on the earth – they only take what’s necessary, and work in harmony with the natural world. They feel a deep connection to nature – this feeling they call Tawai. But their forest and environment are being destroyed. Due to logging, agricultural farming and oil pipelines, the land is disappearing – fast. And even though we all don’t wish to take responsibility – we are all a part of the problem. Over consumption is creating this conflict.
Before the film, I walked around the rainforest biome of The Eden Project – it took me about half an hour. What a beautiful environment to spend time in. At the end of my walk, a sign read that every ten seconds a piece of rainforest the size of the biome is destroyed. This statistic gripped my core. For I too am responsible.
Bruce’s film is a philosophical question of life. It’s a deep exploration on the way we are living in the modern world, and our relationship to the natural world around us. Our western way of living disregards connection to one another. How have humans reached a point where we don’t consider the people and species involved in the creation of products? How have we developed a way of thinking, so that we disconnect from the natural world? We are all a part of it, we are all linked. But humans have built barriers and detached themselves from this feeling of connection.
I wonder what I can do to help this world. We are conditioned in our culture to want more. We believe that more material things, more experiences, more holidays – will make us happier. But they are not making us happier. We are currently living in a climate of poor mental health. Anxiety and depression are rife. People are searching for something deeper. People are searching for meaning – with each other and our place on this earth. Mindfulness, meditation, minimalism and yoga are all becoming more popular. They are tools for reconnection and renewal. They are tools to help us get back in touch with our authentic selves. We are seeking this renewal en masse. Humans are desperate for this feeling of reconnection.
So, what can we do to help? We can start with our small actions every day. I often feel a drive to get out into the world and do “big” things. I want to make this world a better place and help alleviate the suffering. But my daily actions can also have a profound effect on this world. What products I buy – and how much. What food I put on my plate. The companies I buy from. Walking and cycling more – thinking before I get in the car. Wearing more layers in the winter to keep energy consumption down. They may seem trivial, but these choices we all make are a powerful voice in this world. You see, there are so many small things we can all do every day – en masse – which can help this world.
It isn’t too late – the time is now.