On Saturday 20th October myself and the Glastonbury Friends of the Earth group hosted a film showing of the meditative arts film, Albatross.
Shot over 8 years on the remote Pacific island Midway, film-maker Chris Jordan found himself drawn into the lives and losses of the legendary Albatross birds. The movie is an intimate and personal look at how their lives are affected by ocean plastic, which the parents scoop up, along with nourishing food, to feed to their babies. The parents can't know what plastic is, but trust that the sea provides what they need- every molecule of their bodies comes from the sea, there is no separation between them.
When you see the care and concern the parents lavish on their babies, it is very difficult to see them as different from us- they do everything with the same love and intention as we do. This makes the images of the dead chicks, bodies filled with plastic, the more heartbreaking.
Before showing the film, I began with an introduction discussing the views of Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, sacred activist and Sufi writer. He says that for us to create real change in this world each of us must go through 4 stages, that he calls his four point-plan.
The first point is witnessing: having an awareness of what is happening in the inner and outer worlds. A state of awareness that sees without judgement, expectation, or even without wanting anything to change. When we witness what is happening within ourselves while watching this film, as well as what is happening on screen, we will notice how everything is connected. ''Everything is happening in our backyard, and we need to hold an awareness of what is happening- like a light shining in the darkness''.
Secondly is grieving: each of us feels this differently, so there is no judgement to your reactions while watching this film. Chris Jordan said he ''came to discover that grief is not sadness. Grief is love. Grief is a felt experience of love for something lost or that we are losing. That is an incredibly powerful doorway. I think we all carry that abiding ocean of love for the miracle of our world''. Thich Nhat Hanh says: ''real change will only happen when we fall in love with our planet''.
Thirdly is praying: ''Prayer is the soul's most basic response''- the cry to our deities in times of distress. This primal cry is also the Earth's prayer: Earth is crying out through our voices. Earth needs our prayers now. Maybe whilst watching this film you will feel the urge to pray, to whichever deity or deities you connect with, to the Earth, or to the birds themselves. Earth thanks you for your prayers tonight, because perhaps these problems are too big to fix ourselves; we need our gods and goddesses now.
Lastly is action: once through these three stages, then can we act from a place of love, not conditioned by the same mind-set as that which created the problem in the first place. There are many ways in which to act, but remember that just watching this film with us tonight is also an action.
If anyone reading this feels called to show this film, you can download it and find all details at:
www.albatrossthefilm.com/ Feel free to use my introduction, or write your own.
This is a powerful and emotional film, I felt a lot of grief watching it for the first time, which was strong for me throughout the next day. That evening I went to watch a wonderful singer called Ayla Nereo, who spoke about the fear and despair of climate change, and how for her, witnessing the news and how our world is instills in her a sense of bravery. That is exactly what this film did for me: I have never felt braver to stand up against the over-production and unnecessary use of plastics, and to do what I can to clean up this planet.
The first step is for our Friends of the Earth group and others to make Glastonbury single-use plastic free. To get involved please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook: Glastonbury Friends of the Earth.
Earth thanks you x