When natural and human interests impinge on each other, and over-regulation disturbs our biological balance, important questions arise. Do we belong to nature or does nature belong to us? Read on for our review of Marijn Poels’ Return To Eden, It’s All About Coming Home.
The third part in an environmental trilogy, Marijn Poels’ Return To Eden, It’s All About Coming Home looks at agriculture and its effects on climate change. After the release of the first film, ‘The Uncertainty Has Settled’ Poels was inundated with hate mail and threats that led to it being banned at certain cinemas. Having looked into the reasoning behind some of that, it seems Poels ruffled a few feathers. Not so much with his politics, as he managed to keep them under wraps during the first two films, it was more to do with his insistence on documenting simple and basic scientific knowledge but seemingly giving more time to conspiracy theories, misleading statements, and just plain falsehoods about climate change.
His second part of the trilogy Paradogma dug a little deeper into the modern issue of silencing those who share different views and came about due to the angry reception Poel received for his first film. As he said later,
“Initially I wanted to make a completely different film but due to the aggressive reactions I received after releasing The Uncertainty Has Settled I found it important to make this story first. With Paradogma I want to pave the road for a broader public debate which is becoming increasingly smaller.”
Paradogma won a few awards for Poel, so now that brings us onto Return To Eden, It’s All About Coming Home, the third film in the series and the one in which his politics burst front and centre. Running at 105 minutes, Return To Eden sees Poel travel across the world discussing climate theories with farmers, landowners, and scientists. Asking questions to try and discover how much humans are to blame for climate change and what options are available to us in order to fix it.
Interestingly, no matter what questions Poel asks, the answers always seem to revolve around the same thing, – climate change is not the problem, climate change is simply the distraction and, to be fair to Poel, there is certainly an audience for this type of journalism.
Much like Michael Moore in Bowling For Columbine, Poel uses an animation around the hour mark, in which he accuses scientists, environmentalists, and activists of scaremongering everyone with the empty threat of climate change. This is all fine but in order to debunk many of the scientific theories, he tends to use conjecture and personal opinion as proof as opposed to any factual evidence. There is a voice-over suggesting Polar Bears are not endangered but are in fact thriving, yet researching the claim it seems Polar Bears are an endangered species in America while being classed as Vulnerable in the wild because of their dwindling numbers due to melting ice.
Another voiceover tells us that ‘We don’t know how much humans are influencing climate’, but again a quick google search will show 97% of climate scientists, as well as NASA, all agree that human activity is to blame for the warming of the planet.
It’s also a shame that Poel attacks some easy targets in the form of Greta Thunberg, environmental green taxes and wind turbines; the latter for being nothing more than moneymaking schemes. Despite facts that confirm wind power significantly reduces carbon emissions, saves billions of gallons of water every year, and cuts pollution that creates smog. Of course, this is Poel’s film and he has every right to use his chosen art form to say whatever he wants to and that is something you can’t really criticise him for at all.
All this said, Poel deserves a lot of credit for some scenes, especially showing his interview with the well-educated and much-experienced environmentalist, Paul Hawken, who listens to his theories and calmly disagrees with them with just one succinct answer. This is a scene worth praising because Poel could quite easily have left it on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, Poel undoes some of his good work by then spending twice as much time with right-wing conspiracy theorist Rosa Koire.
Although I completely disagree with Poel’s politics on this issue, I do commend him for his work. He has put in a herculean effort to cover what feels like the whole world in just 105 minutes. Plus, as a different take on the global warming issue, Return To Eden, It’s All About Coming Home could certainly be considered an interesting watch for some. What I would suggest is to watch it, enjoy it, but afterward do your own research and in the end, come to your own conclusions.