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6 Billion Others Climate Voices: a video project by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Presented at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and streamed online for free from Dec 9-18th 2009

In 2003, after completing The Earth Seen from the Sky, photographer/conservationist Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with Sybille d’Orgeval and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire, launched the project “6 Billion Others”.  5,000 interviews were filmed in 75 countries by 6 directors who went in search of the Others.

From a Brazilian fisherman to a Chinese shopkeeper, from a German performer to an Afghan farmer, all answered the same questions about their fears, dreams, ordeals, hopes: What have you learned from your parents? What do you want to pass on to your children? What difficult circumstances have you been through? What does love mean to you? Forty or so questions that help us to find out what separates and what unites us.

Yann on How the Project was Conceived:
Everything began with a helicopter breakdown in Mali. While I was waiting for the pilot, I spent a whole day talking with one of the villagers. He spoke to me about his daily life, his hopes and fears: his sole ambition was to feed his children.

My work for a magazine interrupted, I suddenly found myself plunged into the most elemental of concerns. He looked me straight in the eyes, uncomplaining, asking for nothing, expressing no resentment or ill will.

Later, flying over the planet making The Earth seen from the Sky, I often asked myself what I could learn from the men and women I glimpsed below me. I dreamt of understanding their words, of feeling what linked us. Because, from up there, the Earth looks like an immense area to be shared. But as soon as I landed, problems emerged. I found myself confronted by inflexible bureaucracy and barriers laid down by men, symbols of the difficulty we have in living together.

Living together…
We live in amazing times. Everything moves at a crazy pace. I’m sixty years old, and when I think about how my parents lived, it seems scarcely believable. Today, we have at our disposal extraordinary tools for communication: we can see everything, know everything. The quantity of information in circulation has never been greater. All of that is very positive. The irony is that at the same time we still know very little about our neighbours.
Now, however, the only possible response is to make a move towards the other person, to understand them.

For in struggles to come, whether it is the struggle against poverty or climate change, we cannot act on our own. The times in which one could think only of oneself or of one’s own small community are over. From now on, we cannot ignore what it is that links us and the responsibilities that this implies.

There are more than six billion of us on Earth, and there will be no sustainable development if we cannot manage to live together. That is why 6 Billion Others is so important to me. I believe in it because it concerns all of us and because it encourages us to take action. I hope that each one of us will want to reach out and make these encounters, to listen to other people and to contribute to the life of 6 Billion Others by adding our own experiences and expressing our desire to live together.

More information on 6BillionOthers.org and HOME can be found at GoodPlanet.org

From the beginning, The French Ministry of Ecology and ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) supported this project, and made it a reality. “6 billion Others. Climate Voices.” is also supported by the UNITED NATIONS (UNEP, WMO, IPCC, ISDR and UN-Habitat) and Voyageurs du Monde.

This project will be shown in December 2009 for the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen.
We want all these interviews and videos to be free for all broadcasts and TV channels to increase public awareness of this critical problem of climate change. One of the most important French TV channel (France2) will organize a special evening the 8th December about climate change with extracts of “6 billion Others. Climate Voices.”.

THEMATICS:
Thaw of the underground/ Flooding/ Scorching heat/ Dryness and Fire/ Thawing of glaciers/ Ecosystem modification/ Cyclone and Storm/ Water warming/ Rising sea level

PLACES OF SHOOTING, FROM WEST TO EAST:
– United States, Alaska: Evolution of fishing professions.
– Canada, Quebec and Northwest Territories: Thawing of permafrost. Moving of villages. Disappearing of native communities.
– United States, California, San Diego: Drought. Growing forest fires.
– United States, Texas, Houston: Displaced people from New-Orleans.
– Peru, Altiplano: Thawing of glaciers. Raise in altitude of the freezing level.
– Mali, Bamako, Tombouctou: Desertification, overgrazing, conflict between breeders and farmers.
– Spain, Malaga, Almeria: Hard droughts.
– France: The 2003 heat wave and its consequences. Evolution of farming and fishing professions. Migration of species. Glaciologists, experts on climate, migrations of species…
– Netherlands: Increase in the water level.
– Germany, islands of Halligen: Increase in the water level. Disappearing of lands.
– Kenya: Extension of malaria, drought.
– Madagascar: Deforestation, drought.
– India, Ladakh, Calcutta: Thawing of glaciers, floods, pollution.
– Bangladesh, south-east: Rise in the water level, natural disasters, increase of salinity in the arable lands.
– China, north area, near Beijing: Desertification.
– Taïwan: Natural disasters, typhoon Morakot August 2009.
– Maldives: Rise in the sea level. Exodus to other lands.
– Australia, Murray-Darling, Queensland: Strong droughts. Floods. Blanching of corals.

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