In 2003, after The Earth seen from the Sky, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with Sybille d’Orgeval and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire, launched the 7 billion Others project. 6,000 interviews were filmed in 84 countries by about twenty 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 learnt 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-five questions that help us to find out what separates and what unites us. These portraits of humanity today are accessible on this website. The heart of the project, which is to show everything that unites us, links us and differentiates us, is found in the films which include the topics discussed during these thousands of hours of interviews.
These testimonies are also presented during exhibitions in France and around the world (Belgium, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Russia ...), and on other media such as book, DVD or on TV.
YANN ARTHUS-BERTRAND'S EDITORIAL
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-five 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 neighbours.
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 seven billion of us on Earth, and there will be no sustainable development if we cannot manage to live together. That is why 7 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 7 billion Others by adding our own experiences and expressing our desire to live together.