If Not Us, Then Who?

The Question, is at the back of our minds,

as we waltz into an era of global struggle. As the music speeds up to a frantic pace, however, we continue to dance, ignoring the warning signs just to enjoy our evening of overindulgence on this planet, a little bit more.

 We know our overconsumption, thirst for fossil fuels, deforestation, and the toxic effects of our resource lust will be a real pain to clean up in the morning, but we hold out, collectively thinking, “someone really should do something about the state of our Earth.”

Sadly, not everyone has been invited to the party. Peoples all over the world who live closely to the land, who depend on a healthy environment for their livelihoods, and who suffer through the damaging consequences of natural exploitation have been fighting to survive through the night.

As the victims of environmental injustice often live in remote environments, filmmakers play a critical role in amplifying their voices. Paul Redman, of Handcrafted Films, has been traveling throughout Central America, Peru, Brazil, and Indonesia to unify defiance against ecological abuses as part of the “If Not Us, Then Who?” campaign. Redman and his team work with indigenous communities to listen to their stories, help them document their troubles, and use the rapidly-produced yet emotive, beautiful, and effective short films to build support towards a solution.

“The aim of the project is to promote indigenous people as the most viable solution to the long term protection of forests.” Redman writes FFC. “We are also developing various events in partnership with international and national NGOs and have so far launched in New York, Lima and Indonesia.”

One “If Not Us, Then Who?” story is about the murder of an indigenous Peruvian activist named Edwin Chota, who fought against illegal logging in his Asheninka community:

 

 

“I filmed the widows of the four murdered Ashanenka leaders at the end of last year and we promoted the film in partnership wth Global Witness & Rainforest Foundation US in Lima,” Redman writes.

 

After showing the photos and film at the Lima Itinerant Film Festival in November of 2014, and bringing in Ashanenka leaders, the Peruvian government finally listened.

“The villagers of Saweto have since been granted land title to over 80,000 hectares of their traditional forests, which is a real success story for everyone involved.” Redman writes. “But we are still working to ensure more land titles are granted to other Ashanenka communities and we are exploring ways to do that later this year.”

Since screening the film in Peru, Redman left the materials with local NGOs and he and his team moved on to Indonesia to fight monoculture eucalyptus plantations:

The campaign is fully funded by the Ford Foundation and the Climate & Land Use Alliance (CLUA), and is aiming to bring these voices to The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“We have further promotional events in Germany and Paris later this year to build awareness before the UNFCCC meeting in Paris,” Redman writes.

Now that the music sounds a bit slurred, and we realize that our waltz cannot last forever, what can we do? To help right these injustices,

  1. Don’t buy products that use tropical hardwoods, as many logging operations forge the documents to export their wood as though it came from legal concessions – with up to 80% of wood being fraudulently claimed as legal, according to Greenpeace Brazil
  2. Don’t buy products that use palm oil, as palm oil plantations contribute to the deforestation of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the forests of many other peoples
  3. Sign petitions to protect indigenous people and rainforests here, at Takepart.com http://www.takepart.com/feature/2015/02/06/sustainable-furniture-killing-indigenous-people

 

And thank Paul Redman and his team, for answering the question “If Not Us, Then Who?” with resounding action!

 

 

Save Our Sharks A Save Our Seas Foundation

Description:

Save Our Sharks highlights the terrible price of tradition. Sharks are finned alive for a tasteless soup with no nutritional value. Once the privilege of only the affluent, new wealth in Asia has made shark fin soup more affordable. The high price of fins makes shark fishing very profitable and millions are slaughtered every year. Many species now face extinction. Life on earth relies on the sea. The ocean needs sharks: the killing must stop.
Running time: 6′ 16″

Save Our Sharks – aims to influence the next generation to open their eyes to the devastating cruelty and terrible waste caused by shark finning all in the name of tradition.

Positive results:

Save Our Sharks is part of the Save Our Seas short, ‘sticky’ film campaign. The film delivers a conservation message in a provocative way designed to vividly remain in the mind of the viewer. The film featured during European Shark week and has been shown at several festivals including Wavescape in Cape Town (SA surfer’s festival) and the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan attended by 180,000 people. It won a Panda award at the Wildscreen Film Festival and was part of the Save Our Seas campaign category entry that won a ‘Rocky’ award at Jackson Hole Film Festival.

Save Our Sharks has been provided to WWFHK (Hong Kong) and Wildaid to help with their campaign work. It has been translated into Mandarin for distribution in China.

China has banned shark fin soup at its’ official banquets. Save Our Sharks is part of a collective effort by conservationists that has made a difference in the battle against shark finning. See: China Bans Shark Fin Soup at Official Banquets

The Save Our Seas Foundation hope to continue campaigning with the film to reach as many viewers as possible and change a tradition that is having a serious negative effect on sharks worldwide.

Contact/Links:

Mandarin Version: https://vimeo.com/46685530
Producer: Caroline Brett – caroline@saveourseas.com
Director of Hong Kong sequences: Jo Ruxton
Camera: Dan Beecham, Tom Campbell, Dennis Coffman, Alex
Hofford, Paul Menge, Lesley Rochat & Wade Muller
Editor: Alan Miller
Save Our Seas Foundation: http://saveourseas.com/

By Jason Peters

Amazon Sells Whale Meat

Description:

Language: English

Running time: 52 seconds

Conceived as a short, high-impact campaign film with the potential to go viral, Amazon Sells Whale Meat accompanied the release of the Environmental Investigation Agency report Amazon.com’s Unpalatable Profits on February 21, 2012.

The film is loosely structured after the opening sequence of 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, replacing the high-pitched sound of a camera flashbulb recharging with a burst of whale song as a prelude to footage of the bloody reality of whaling, juxtaposing images of a mother and daughter viewing Amazon Japan pages of seemingly innocuous cetacean food products with images including the killing of pilot whales in the Taiji drive hunt and a fin whale being landed in Iceland.

Positive results:

Within hours of the campaign’s launch, the film was viewed thousands of times via a multitude of internet news sites and blogs, Facebook and Twitter which either embedded the film or linked to it.

Helping to spur tens of thousands of consumers to take action by protesting directly to Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos via emails, a petition, Tweets and postings on Amazon’s Facebook page, the film played a key role in speedily raising awareness of both the issue and the campaign.

In less than 24 hours, Amazon had contacted the vendors of cetacean products on Amazon Japan and all products were withdrawn.

Video Success: Amazon Removes Whale Meat

Contact/Links:

Produced by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA International)

Edited/Directed – Paul Redman
Written – Paul Newman
Website: http://www.eia-international.org
EIA Action Alert: http://www.eia-international.org/action-alert-tell-amazon-to-ban-all-whale-products
See ‘Amazon whale meat campaign: going behind the scenes: http://www.eia-international.org/amazon-whale-meat-campaign-behind-the-scenes

By Jason Peters