The people of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon are protecting their territory in a very special way. They call it Kawsak Sacha, the living forest. It grows on land under which there is a lot of oil, like in many parts of The Amazon.
Helena Gualinga is one of them. She is 20 years old and her way of fighting consists of photo shoots for lifestyle magazines, of traveling to international climate conferences and of dancing with her friends and family at traditional ceremonies. About 75.000 people watch her doing this on her Instagram channel. I had the honor of talking and dancing with her.
Kawsak Sacha, the living forest, means the forest is considered a living being and humans are just a part of this living organism. But a crucial one. Animals, plants and even spirits live in community with each other. To protect and nourish this community the people of Sarayaku developed a sophisticated system of values, rituals and responsibilities. With medicinal plants, small scale farming, with drones, maps, excel sheets and with a frontier planted out of flower trees.
Helena tells us what challenges she faces when trying to explain this concept to the outer world and what role the women played in a land mark court ruling against the state of Ecuador and an oil company.
Her Utopia: That oil will not be exploited anymore anywhere
What you can do to support it, she says: Tell their stories. We need more people watching. That‘s something that they are scared of: People watching what they are doing.
Executive producers: @_charlotte.horn and @christinafeemoebus
Music: Robert Pilgram http://robertpilgram.com/
Studio Sound: @seike_sound
*On Sarayaku and Kawsak Sacha:
Kawsak Sacha – Selva Viviente – Living Forest
Back to nature: the story of one family’s retreat into the Amazon forest to escape Covid | Environment | The Guardian
*On Nature Rights + Indigenous People
Ecuador Court Gives Indigenous Groups a Boost in Mining and Drilling Disputes – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Challenges and Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples’ Sustainability | DISD
*Climate and Biodiversity
IPCC report: ‘now or never’ if world is to stave off climate disaster | Climate crisis | The Guardian
2021: when the link between the climate and biodiversity crises became clear | Max Benato | The Guardian