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“6 Billion Others”- One on One Conversations to Meet People Around the World
In 2003, after The Earth seen from the Sky, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with Sybille d’Orgeval and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire, launched the project “6 Billion Others”. Five thousand 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 them to find out what separates and what unites people. These portraits of humanity today are accessible on this website and the official site www.6billionothers.org
“6 Billion Others” is not a geopolitical study, nor is it a work of sociology. “6 Billion Others” is a perspective on humanity, a collection of human stories. Stories of fears, joys, and dreams, which make up our common Story. Bearing witness to the diversity of mankind, we wish to show that difference does not exclude understanding: on the contrary, it is necessary for the survival of the world as we know it.”
Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Editorial of Six Billion Others...
“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. 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, 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.
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 neighbors. 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.”