Jim Frazier is a living legend. His home is Bootawa in the Manning Valley, and his background includes working with the likes of David Attenborough. Jim’s work as a photographer has seen him earn many accolades, including a prestigious Oscar and Emmy Award and an Order of Australia Medal (OAM). We caught up with Jim to find out about his project and passion, “Symphony of the Earth”.
Can you tell FOCUS readers about the project Symphony of the Earth?
Symphony of the Earth is a massive musical blockbuster feature film project comprising 10 high impact entertaining films.
The concept includes using the highest profile musicians, singers and entertainers – the most popular in the world today. The unique feature is introducing the world to a whole new genre of music, which is animal sounds – from birds to elephants – as part of the musical score, together with beautiful footage of these amazing creatures making those sounds!
We intend to create a global change in current destructive human thinking in relation to the global environment. Symphony of the Earth sets out to be the “Restart Button” for the planet by “Giving the Earth a Voice.” This global project will be By the People, For the People. We aim to change our planet from EGO driven to ECO driven.
Was there a particular catalyst that led you to start Symphony of the Earth?
It was during the time that I was travelling the world filming for David Attenborough and seeing first-hand the environmental carnage all over the world, which few people witness. It’s so apparent to me that the loss of biodiversity which sustains our very existence is at a crossroads, and we are now at a point where we WILL see total collapse. I am very deeply concerned for the survival of our children and all future generations.
When I looked around, I realised that the general population is totally unaware of the very real issues we face, and the fact that if WE choose to do nothing we WILL see the demise of all life on earth within several decades.
It’s a massive project! Are there any key players who are working with you to help you realise this vision?
It’s definitely not just me – it’s just my vision, but I work with an amazing, very dedicated and committed team who are actively helping me bring this to fruition.
Along the way I’ve met some fabulous people such as Chris Mitchell, who is a former editor for The Australian newspaper, and he is now providing some support. Also, media personality Ray Martin has expressed an interest, and I look forward to working with him in future.
Part of the project involves establishing a Manning-based film studio where we can work on filming a lot of the sequences we need for Symphony of the Earth. We are also going to use this studio as a hub where we can begin to support and develop other like-minded initiatives.
What have been the major challenges you’ve experienced, and how do you think you can or have overcome them?
This has been a labour of love for me for the past 15 years. By far the biggest challenge I face is generating funds to get Symphony of the Earth off the ground, and it’s something I regard as urgent now in the face of what I believe future generations will experience if we don’t act now.
There is a wider vision here, isn’t there; one that you would like everyone – from individuals to governments – to embrace and take on?
I am working on getting Symphony of the Earth in front of a global audience as quickly as possible, because I see this as being a key to changing the way we think in an environmental sense.
I also believe that governments worldwide are really seriously contributing to the demise of global environments, and that this issue falls very low on their collective agendas – regardless of what they are saying.
It seems to me that it’s all about the money, and this financial focus is what’s driving the degradation of our precious environment. We’ve already lost 53% of all plants and animals on our earth, which puts us over a tipping point. We cannot get back what’s been lost, but we can move now to stop further degradation.
What can we as everyday people do to help?
There are a number of ways people can support the Symphony of the Earth, including donating or becoming a member. Visit the website to find out more, or to donate – we would very much like to meet with environmental philanthropists: http://symphonyoftheearth.org/get-involved/
What’s your goal now in relation to Symphony of the Earth?
It’s urgent that we get Symphony of the Earth out there as soon as possible. We’re planning to release it in 16 languages, because it’s a global problem, not just a western problem.
Apart from the main narrated message, which will be delivered in the middle of the film, there are no spoken words – it’s all music, animal music, entertainment. Every sound in a conventional orchestra is out there in the wild – I’ve heard them … all we have to do is go and film and record them.
Any final thoughts?
The global environment is under threat. There’s no escaping that fact. Air pollution, deforestation and death of our sea life are huge issues which, unless we do something about them now, will impact generations to come in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.
Coral reefs are bleaching because of rising acidity levels and rising temperatures in our oceans – and now, more seriously, we are seeing our oceans turn radioactive due to the horrific Fukushima incident. The impact is global, despite what you might think.
Plastics are also a huge issue. Oxygen producing sea grasses are being destroyed by micro plastics. Did you know that there is an “island” of plastics the size of Tasmania floating around in the Pacific Ocean … and it’s killing millions of animals, from turtles to seals to whales!
There is no Planet B; so we had better take care of this one!
Interview: Ingrid Bayer.