In the misty mountains of the Vilcanota Cordillera, southeast of Cusco, on the steep slopes of the Andes, the Q’eros grow potatoes, herd alpaca, chew coca and pray to the mountain deities they call Apus. On my recent research trip to the Q’eros village of Qochamoqo, I was accompanied by Milton Gamarra, the Potato Repatriation Coordinator with Associación ANDES, who hiked in at harvest time to see how different potato varieties were doing in the face of climate change. The Q’eros harvested three fields at varying elevations and carefully bagged the different types of potatoes to determine how each seed type is faring under a variety of conditions. As El Niños come and go over the years, resilience has always been central to the vitality of Q’eros culture, and as the planet warms and the glaciers melt, the Q’eros are determined to be on the cutting edge of awareness with regard to climate change and what they can do to survive it. Produced as a preview of Losing Sacred Ground, a 4-part series, by the Sacred Land Film Project –

This video was produced by the Sacred Land Film Project,, a project of Earth Island Institute. To deepen public understanding of sacred places, indigenous cultures and environmental justice, the Film Project produces a variety of media and educational materials—films, videos, DVDs, articles, photographs, school curricula and other materials. The Sacred Land Film Project uses journalism, organizing and activism to rekindle reverence for land, increase respect for cultural diversity, stimulate dialogue about connections between nature and culture, and protect sacred lands and diverse spiritual practices.

Its latest project, Standing on Sacred Ground,, is a four-part series that chronicles indigenous people in eight communities around the world standing up for their traditional sacred lands in defense of cultural survival, human rights and the environment. Watch them stand against industrial mega-projects, consumer culture, resource extraction, competing religions, tourists and climate change.

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