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Sustainable Viewing: ‘Home’ Documentary

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Anne-Sophie invites students like herself to take a break from reading countless essays and academic literature. In this article she discusses why students should watch ‘Home’ and gives a brief overview of the documentary film. Anne-Sophie believes more students concerned with sustainability should use documentaries as an easy and relaxed way to educate themselves on climate change.

Pictures are a strong medium to invite people in places they have never been to and may not even know exist. Photography is powerful as it is both an art form and a means of communication. It has heavily been used in the media to illustrate key social issues, showing the reality of wars, pictures of activism or sharing visual evidence of environmental issues. It is a powerful communication tool often used to persuade at it shapes the emotions of the viewers.

Yann Arthus Bertrand is a master of photography, his books “The earth from the air” (1999) and “6 billion others” (2003) have hugely impacted people’s perception of the earth and its inhabitants. He shares poignant portraits of people around the world and captures the beauty, uniqueness and wonders of the earth.

In this article I will try to lure you into watching one of Yann Arthus Bertrand’s movies, a must watch if you ask me; HOME. This influential movie was made as an effort to inform, start debate and inspire individuals. As such it is accessible for FREE on YouTube, so no excuses to miss out on this masterpiece!

Why it is a must see:

Not your typical documentary, HOME is a film documentary. It is an educational art piece which is somewhere between being catastrophist and optimistic. It shows the reality of the urgency of environmental issues, as it gives us 10 years to change the way we live and aims to foster hopefulness for people to react and change their behavior.

The Quick Run Down

Length: 1h 30 minutes. Not too short, not too long. Just enough time to make a point and make you want to see more of Yann’s photographs.


Logo owned by by Europa Corp. for Home.

Soundtrack: Not only does Yann Arthus Bertand like to spark emotions through cinematography, he has mastered the use of music to deepen the viewers’ experience. The themes in the movie can be very somber and fatalist, but somehow the narrative in place through the pictures and soundtrack sublime the duality of the environmental issues. Leaving us hopeful and empowered by possibilities.


It is a movie by Yann Arthus Bertrand. He is a French environmentalist, activist, journalist and photographer. He created the foundation GoodPlanet whose message is that acting against global warming and connecting as humans makes us happy and is the driver for a better future.

The film was produced by Luc Besson (you might know him as the director of Léon: the professional, the fifth element and Lucy).

The English version was narrated by the Oscar nominee Glenn Close, known for the movies “The Wife” and “Fatal Attraction”, to name a few. Her voice is the hand giding us along the travel diary imagined by Yann.

Reach: Since its release the movie has been translated in 23 languages and uploaded on YouTube for everyone to watch for FREE.

The movie is built in two parts:

1. The first one is very dramatic and urges the viewers to be aware of the intensity and impacts of climate change.

2. Unlike many documentaries before HOME, the second part is filled with optimism. The beautiful shots of the planet are a testimony to how beautiful the earth still is and all that is left to protect. It shows the power humans have for destructive actions, but most of all it shows our capacity for positive, constructive achievements.

Although HOME does not give a list of actions and steps to take, its relevance is in how it raises awareness and captivates. It shows us the planet from a brand-new perspective and humbles us as it portrays the power of the earth, its richness and fragile beauty.

The movie has been very influential and has reached many people around the world. The historical results of the green political party in European elections in France has widely been attributed to the aftermath of this movie, as it came out a few weeks before the election. Today, 10 years after the movie was released, we have seen drastic changes in behaviours with bills passed to ban or reduce single use plastics, the Paris Agreements and the rising influence of Green parties, notably in Europe.

However, the message of HOME is still relevant especially in the face of climate change skepticism still spread by political figures who shall not be named.

Take some time out of your day to get inspired by this artistic take on environmental documentary. Let yourself embark on this discovery of the earth and become aware of the beauty, value and possibilities for our HOME.

About the Author: Anne-Sophie is a Swiss-French 3rd year university student in Human Geography and Environment at the University of York. She is passionate about sustainability and the opportunities raising from its challenges. She follows that passion wherever it leads her. You can find her on instagram @thehungrytravellingsisters.

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