December 1, 2009
We are at a watershed moment in civilization. The world faces multiple crises on every front: climate change, deforestation, corruption, poverty, pollution, species extinction and the erosive loss of cultures — one every two weeks. If one reads the headlines and looks at the data, pessimism is justified and rational. However, when you look at the efforts of thousands of individuals and organizations, like the Sacred Land Film Project, working to restore the earth and protect indigenous cultures and their sacred land, you find the home of optimism.
Toby McLeod has long recognized and acted upon a simple truth I learned years ago from a Native American friend. The division between ecology and human rights is an artificial one; the environmental and social justice movements address two sides of a single, larger dilemma. Toby’s films make visible the fact that the harm we inflict on the earth affects all people, and how we treat one another is reflected in how we treat the earth.
Traditional lands represent the greatest remaining sanctuaries of life on earth — the most unspoiled forests, mountains and grasslands — and constitute one-fifth of the earth’s land surface. With a deep understanding of the land’s importance to their physical, cultural and spiritual health, some 5,000 indigenous cultures work to protect their homelands against resource hungry corporations trying to commercialize and destroy these biological arks. Our fate will depend on how we understand and treat what is left of the planet’s abundance — its lands, waters, species diversity and people.
The Sacred Land Film Project plays a vital role in bringing the voices and wisdom of indigenous peoples to those who make – or can influence – decisions about the future of traditional lands and the people whose lives and cultures depend on them. Toby helps indigenous cultures show us an image of a future by which we can escape our present path, the one that induces pessimism.
Please join me by giving generously to our friends at the Sacred Land Film Project. Help them continue to tell the important stories that offer a vision of how the earth and its peoples must be treated.