Discussion of the 1984 film Nausicaa of the valley of the wind. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. 

This episode’s guests are environmental educators, Maggie and Paul.

You may want to watch the film first and think about:

  • How do the different groups in the film relate to the natural world.
  • How do the different groups of people feel about nature?
  • Why do they feel that way?

What the film did well

The way people relate to the natural world is strongly influenced by their understanding of it.

Nausicaa understand the behaviour of the insects and doesn’t fear them. She can direct them away from conflict with nearby humans. The other people in the film see the insects as destructive and dangerous and seek to kill them whenever they encounter them.

The film also shows us how self destructive acting without understanding the full consequences can be. We are shown how destroying the jungle  would also be destroying the source of clean water for all the people in the region.

Emotional awareness and empathy

Nausicaa is a powerful character who empathizes with the people and insects and this often leads her to interact with others with more understanding. She also understands herself and how she feels about her actions. After killing those who attacked her father she recognizes the anger which caused her to act the way she did. At the same time she also recognizes the consequences of that action and chooses to not kill again.  

What we wanted to see more of

Use of climate change as the cause of the downfall of humans rather than war. Climate change is the most serious environmental problem we face today. It would be good to see similar films made today make more explicit use of climate change to increase awareness of the possible consequences. However it may be that because climate change is a longer process rather than a single or comparatively brief event like a war, it is more difficult to approach the issue in a film.

Other media mentioned in this episode

Movies – Princess Mononoke (2001) directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Books – The Drowned world (1962) by J. G. Ballard

What did you think? Did we miss something? Send us your thoughts! knowingnaturepodcast@gmail.com

Tweet us @kn_podcast

Intro/Outro music: Selfish by Derek Clegg. Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 US License

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