Gaia and Genesis – review
Gaia and Genesis, Written and directed by Joe Jenkins. Total running time: 90 minutes. DVD available for £85 from http://www.ethicsonline.net/pages/environmental.html
‘Gaia and Genesis’ is a series of short, documentary-style films produced by the film-maker Joe Jenkins. Joe has taught Religious Studies for over 30 years and is the author of a number of popular text books. He teaches Philosophy and Ethics at Hereford Sixth Form College and started film-making in the 1990s. The collection comprises five films, using the medium of cinematic and photographic images, music and the spoken word.
‘Planet Earth’ conveys the story of the Earth (Gaia) as if she were a 45 year-old woman. Earth’s evolution and the emergence of human civilization are portrayed as a series of changes at periods in her life, accelerating over the last few centuries. ‘Genesis’ explores the nature of mankind’s dominion over the Earth and the influence of the Scientific and Industrial revolutions that have led to tyrannical domination rather than stewardship. ‘Stewardship and Slayers’ proceeds this and reminds us that both the Old and New Testaments emphasise Man’s god-given of care of the Creation. This is contrasted with Descartes and the mechanistic, utilitarian view of all Life, except Man, which has led to the brutalisation of animals and the desecration of Nature. ‘The Rapture’ contrasts the views of Fundamentalist ‘End Times’ Christians with Green Christians who warn of the destructive consequences of catastrophic climate change. The concluding film ‘All Things Are Connected’ traces the genocide committed against the indigenous peoples of both Americas by conquering nations and the resultant crimes against the natural world of which we are all a part.
The films are hauntingly beautiful, thought-provoking and sometimes deeply disturbing. Although they were produced for schools and colleges (there is a downloadable resource for teachers), they would also prove invaluable as a basis for exploration and discussion for church-based groups.