Skip to Content

John Livingston: The Natural History of a Point of View 1997


Distributed by Distributed by Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-FROG (3764)
Produced by Produced by Nancy Archibald, CBC
Directed by Directed by Nancy Archibald
VHS, color, 88 min.

High School - Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers

Date Entered: 11/09/2018

ALA Notable:
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Rue Herbert, Head, Library Media Resources, University of South Florida, Tampa

John Livingston has worked on behalf of the natural world for over 40 years. In this program from the series The Nature of Things, Livingston reflects upon his personal development into what he calls an "amateur naturalist" or "a nature-for-its-own-saker," and discusses the changing face of modern environmentalism and resource conservation. He begins this excellent program with the eye-opening statement that "humans are the only species whose net impact on the world is negative." Central to his discussion is the contrast of nature's inherent worth versus it's perceived material worth. Livingston sees modern environmentalism as resource conservation, or the use and management of nature as a commodity for human benefit.

The program is visually and aurally beautiful, with striking images and sounds of a variety of life forms and habitats. Livingston's observations are critical toward what he terms a "human- centered orthodoxy," and the idea that we have conceptually separated ourselves from nature, as the "chosen species." The negative impact humans have had upon nature is described and illustrated throughout, making this at times an uncomfortable program to watch. John Livingston discusses clearly and forcefully the general elements of various issues relating to conservation, environment, nature, and development, making the program readily understandable and potentially appropriate to a wide variety of audiences.

Given the high quality of the production values and solid presentation of the subject matter, John Livingston: The Natural History of a Point of View is recommended for public, school, and undergraduate academic library collections.