Nature Is Speaking: Julia Roberts Voices ‘Mother Nature’ in Stark Reminder

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Once again, this powerful and breathtaking video is making its rounds. Some of you may have already seen it while others will be watching it for the first time but whoever you are, it is well worth the next two minutes of your life.

The video below was created as part of a bigger series of videos for Conservation International (CI), an organization founded on this simple principle: Saving nature really is about saving ourselves. CI helps communities, businesses, and governments make smart decisions that aim to create a safe and sustainable planet. Because as Peter Seligmann, CI’s Chairman of the Board, says, “We can’t exist without nature being healthy.” [1]

Seligmann’s statement has never been more true, especially as we live every day in the Anthropocene – our current geological era – with levels of chemicals, pollution, and temperature all rising.

In a campaign called Nature Is Speaking, Julia Roberts voiced Mother Nature in the first film of the series. She is one of numerous star-studded Hollywood names including Joan Chen (Sky), Lee Pace (Mountain), Reese Witherspoon (Home), Liam Neeson (Ice), Harrison Ford (Ocean), Shailene Woodley (Forest), Edward Norton (Soil), Penelope Cruz (Water), Robert Redford (The Redwood), Ian Somerhalder (Coral Reef), and Lupita Nyong’o (Flower). [2]

“We thought the idea of giving nature a voice, nature having been around billions of years longer than humans, might make it clear to all of us that the planet will evolve with or without humans,” said Lee Clow, who was in charge of the campaign’s creative direction. “It’s our choice.” [3]

Welcome to Anthropocene, The Age of Humans

But wait, what is the Anthropocene? Also known as the “Age of Man,” it refers to the most recent geologic time period which marks the start of significant human impact on planet Earth – climate change in particular. [4,5]

Scholars have not collectively agreed on an actual start-date for the Anthropocene. In fact, the suggestions are all over the map. Some scientists believe it began around 1780 with the Industrial Revolution or the rise of agriculture around 10,000 BC while others are arguing for the Anthropocene to start on July 16, 1945, when the United States Army detonated the first nuclear weapon. [6-9]

Who knows if they will ever settle on a start date… The point is that humans have definitely impacted – indirectly and directly – the current state of the planet. Here’s a list of signs that we’re living in the Anthropocene: [10]

  1. Nuclear weapons, in both testing and war, have left trace amounts of radioactive matter above and below ground.
  2. Fossil fuels continue to release carbon emissions into the atmosphere, concentrations of which are believed to be at their highest point in the last 65,000,000 years.
  3. Use of new materials (e.g., aluminum, concrete, and plastics) is permeating every aspect of the environment.
  4. Changed geology greatly impacts the state of the planet. Examples of this include deforestation, farming, drilling, mining, landfills, dam-building, and more.
  5. Fertilizers, especially ones laden with toxic chemicals, can and have negatively impacted the nitrogen cycle by increasing levels of reactive This type of nitrogen can contribute to acid raid, smog, and biodiversity loss. [11]
  6. Global warming is alive and well. Both global sea levels and temperatures are rising rapidly.
  7. Mass extinctions have marked the end and beginning of almost every geological period. They usually sparked by massive global changes, which everything from 1-6 can contribute to.

Now more than ever, we are hearing environmental talks at the highest levels of government. It seems like more and more people, celebrities or not, are noticing the issues and caring about them, too. So, we hope this article and others will encourage you to make healthy and smart decisions to give back to the planet just as it has given and continues to give so much to us. We have shaped our past, we are shaping our present, and we can shape our future…

You can watch the rest of the Nature Is Speaking videos right here.

[1] About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.conservation.org/about/Pages/default.aspx

[2] Nature Is Speaking. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.conservation.org/nature-is-speaking/Pages/default.aspx

[3] Conservation International Launches Celebrity Studded Awareness Campaign Nature Is Speaking. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.conservation.org/NewsRoom/pressreleases/Pages/Conservation-International-Launches-Celebrity-Studded-Awareness-Campaign-Nature-Is-Speaking.aspx

[4] Stromberg, J. (2013, January 01). What Is the Anthropocene and Are We in It? Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-is-the-anthropocene-and-are-we-in-it-164801414/

[5] Rafferty, J. P. (2018, August 20). Anthropocene Epoch. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/Anthropocene-Epoch

[6] Zalasiewicz, Jan; et al. (2008). “Are we now living in the Anthropocene?” (PDF). GSA Today. 18 (2): 4–8. doi:10.1130/GSAT01802A.1

[7] Crutzen, P. J. & E. F. Stoermer (2000). “The ‘Anthropocene’”. Global Change Newsletter. 41: 17–18.

[8] Sahney, S.; Benton, M. J. & Ferry, P. A. (2010). “Links between global taxonomic diversity, ecological diversity and the expansion of vertebrates on land” (PDF). Biology Letters. 6 (4): 544–547. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.1024

[9] Sanders, R. (2015, July 09). Was first nuclear test the start of new human-dominated epoch, the Anthropocene? Retrieved from http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/01/16/was-first-nuclear-test-dawn-of-new-human-dominated-epoch-the-anthropocene/

[10] Marks of the Anthropocene: 7 signs we have made our own epoch. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28741-marks-of-the-anthropocene-7-signs-we-have-made-our-own-epoch/

[11] Why we should care about our nitrogen footprint. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428666-200-why-we-should-care-about-our-nitrogen-footprint/

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