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Animate Earth: A Film presented by Stephan Harding

Animate Earth

People from many walks of life have spent time at Schumacher College as students on the MSc Holistic Science programme.  One such person is Clive Ardagh, a young English film maker living in Norway, who came to study on the MSc in 2006.  The faculty at Schumacher College encourage our postgraduate students to explore unorthodox ways of submitting module assignments as well as their final dissertation, and Clive rose to this challenge by making a film for his dissertation summarising the material in my book, Animate Earth (Green Books, 2006 and 2009).  This was no mean task, since the book covers a lot of ground, but Clive persisted and produced a very good film on a shoestring budget with quite basic equipment.  

In 2001, shaman and teacher Jonathan Horwitz and I taught a course together in which we explored, amongst other things, how to convert key scientific insights from Gaia Theory into meaningful forms of shamanic practice out in nature. This worked very well, and Jonathan was so inspired by what we had done together that he encouraged his student Sally Angel, a top ex-BBC producer and film maker, to make a film about Gaia and Holistic Science in which I would feature as presenter. The idea for this film rumbled on for a few years, until Clive’s film saw the light of day.  Then, of course, it seemed natural that Clive and Sally should meet, and when they did Sally took on the task of working with Clive to make his film into a commercial product that would help to promote Holistic Science and Schumacher College more generally. It took two years with financial input from several generous donors to produce this new version of the film.


This film explores a radical approach to the ecological crisis by arguing that many of the problems we now face stem from having lost our intuitive relationship with nature. I suggest that traditional mechanistic science has inadvertently fuelled the crisis and that we urgently need to develop an expanded science that cultivates intuitive wisdom alongside rational knowledge so that we can experience everything, from the smallest microbes to our planet’s great life-sustaining cycles, as deeply interconnected.

Building on the revolutionary discoveries of James Lovelockʼs Gaia Theory, the film goes one step further and explores opportunities to heal our relationship with the Earth through the new discipline of holistic science, with the help of interviews with leading environmentalists, scientists and spiritual leaders, including Brian Goodwin, Iain McGilchrist, Fritjof Capra, Vandana Shiva, Jules Cashford and Satish Kumar.

The film has since won awards and has sold over 1,000 .

You can purchase the film on-line directly by following this link. Viewers have found that the film gives them a powerful, lived sense of what the MSc in Holistic Science is all about. So do please use the film to find some deep inspiration about Holistic Science, about the MSc, and about Schumacher College.