Who will stop ‘this madness’ of climate change, ‘if not us, then who, if not now, then when?’ Yeb Sano

We are exploring one key element of the climate crisis by asking a very basic question – who is protecting our forests?

Forests cover almost a third of the earths land surface and play a major role in stemming the effects of our rapidly changing climate by absorbing an estimated 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Within these forests live traditional and indigenous people who have a deep spiritual connection and understanding of their ancestral homes. This connection is being threatened by a resource hungry modern world. As a result, the people who call the forest their home, are now engaged in a constant and frequently violent struggle.

‘If Not Us Then Who’ communicates firsthand the unique personal stories of an inconspicuous yet vital people, as they battle to protect their lives, their cultures and our forests.

More about the project

All our films are participatory – we work with indigenous peoples to tell the stories they want to tell. From Indonesia to Peru, we have been working with indigenous networks to interpret their experience and, as a result, the material you see on this website broadly reflects the work of our core partners- AMAN, AMPB, REPALEF and COICA.

Our goal is ultimately to give the material back to communities so they can use them to campaign and affect change at a local level. When we can we also bring this material to the attention of international audiences, creating specific social media content to raise awareness in an age when over consumption of commodities directly affects local communities.

This material is being used by many international non-governmental Organisations (Global Witness, Rainforest Foundation, ISA, RAN) to inform policy makers in large corporations and in governments of the needs of communities. The material is a doorway into understanding complex issues such as climate change or the commodities trade, at a community level.

When the timing is right our material has also been used by journalists, featuring  in Le Monde, El Pais, The New York Times, The Guardian, Mongabay, BBC online and in many other publications.

We hope this material is used to educate and inform, to change minds and to appeal to the heart. We want the world to know that if you want to protect forests then you should speak to the people who live in them first.

Environment Defenders