When I began researching for my first documentary Anima Mundi (2011) I had assumed permaculture was about growing fruit and vegetables and that was pretty much it, but I was to learn that permaculture encompassed so much more; including sustainable housing, self-employment, complimentary healthcare, education, economics and energy – especially embodied energy. Embodied energy is the energy required to extract energy like oil or gas or solar, and the energy required to manufacture something. This ‘embodied energy’ element was something I realized was drastically missing from environmental and sustainability debates, where supposed “eco-friendly” products when looked upon from the embodied energy perspective were not as eco-friendly as advertised. I learned that humanity is artificially sustaining 7 billion people through the use of non-renewable fossil-fuel energy with no viable alternative to continuing our over-consumptive wasteful lifestyle. Permaculture however, offers an energy decent framework reducing our addiction to economic growth whilst still allowing humanity to evolve as a species. The Gaia philosophy explored in Anima Mundi naturally fits within permaculture principles, not as some airy-fairy hippie fantasy but as the scientific fact of our, and every other creature’s, interrelated connection within the earth’s ecosystem. The Gaia theory has now evolved into the more conservative acceptable name of, Earth Systems Science.

The connections and friends I made creating and releasing Anima Mundi led me, with some synchronicity, to United Natures - a United Nations of all species. Somewhat of a sequel to Anima Mundi, United Natures delves deeper into the philosophy of permaculture and the Gaia theory and the human role within nature. Seeding the vision of a new indigenous world culture and exploring “permaculture of the inner landscape” and how our personal inner environments reflect on the outer environment. The other vital topic explored in the film is the renewed consciousness of earth rights and The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, presented to the United Nations by Bolivia for UN recognition. United Natures delivers an understanding that a consciousnesses shift is what is needed as much as a change of law, industrial practices and societal excesses. Ultimately the decision is a simple one, humanity either changes now voluntarily or natural circumstances of peak fossil-fuels, peak food, peak water and climate change will force alterations upon us. Not some ‘new world order’ conspiracy as if you could possibly get a group of ego’s at a meeting to all agree, but rather a natural conspiracy of nature tempting we innocents (at the time) with the poison apple of fossil-fuel’s potent energy which nurtured us into the artificially sustained saturated civilization on the edge of extinction we experience today. United Natures is also very much a self-reflective “green film” with explorations into the hypocrite and Eco-dictatorship accusations that are often leveled at environmentalists.

The first release of United Natures is 103 minutes long and is the directors cut containing everything I felt important to include, that which mainstream media would edit out for commercial reasons. However, at some stage there may be a shortened commercial version if the demand is there. Some will see United Natures as a spiritual movie, others as philosophical, some will think it too left-of-center and others will resonate with it to the core. I hope that you all see United Natures as an innocent yet omnipresent, grassroots film documenting a momentous time in our civilization and offering a positive future no matter what happens because we cannot escape the fact that we are natural, though some religions teach otherwise, not everything natural is good for us but that doesn’t mean its wrong or evil and shouldn’t exist.

The title is a playful, perhaps serious, vision for a new United Nations and is not affiliated with the actual real global entity. The documentary is literally a home-made, self-funded, independent production created with the support of kindred media from Australia and around the world. For a feature documentary it has a very low embodied energy, keeping fossil-fuel use to a minimum and fitting within permaculture principles by utilizing what was local and/or at hand and when needed, hiring film crews overseas to conduct interviews on my behalf rather than travelling, which also has the added benefit of being much less expensive of course. One main costs with this film was the pressure of being given the trust and respect of numerous luminaries; doctors and lawyers and professors and amazing people in their fields and to represent them faithfully, to enhance their cause and to further their passion, which I also share. My evolution as a film-maker continues as one social movement film leads to the next with the friends and networks I make along the way and I look forward to discovering where United Natures takes me next…

Peter Charles Downey

Please visit the resources page to learn more about permaculture and mother earth rights.