Women lead environmental justice around the world in Arise. Exquisite cinematography and music are enhanced by Daryl Hannah’s evocative narration. These voices for change may be new to you.
Arise emphasizes women’s wisdom and spiritual connection with the Earth as they live sustainably. Mother and daughter Lori Joyce and Candice Orlando direct.
The film will be offered on DVD and streaming in the future. Contact them to host a screening.
Shared stories inspire
In this era of ecological peril, women across cultures are stepping forward. Arise finds beauty and hope even in extreme poverty. Reverent vignettes of art, scenery, music and poetry read by Hannah shine in this well edited production.
The filmmakers told The Huffington Post that they persevered for seven years to bring these important stories to the screen. Each leader displays compassion, intelligence, conviction and active commitment. Among those featured are:
Judy Nyguthi Kimamo, Project Officer, Women for Change – The Greenbelt Movement, Kenya
“Once you’ve empowered a woman, you’ve empowered a nation,” notes Judy Nyguthi Kimamo. “We all need each other.” Kimamo follows in the footsteps of Wangari Maathai, the founder of Kenya’s Greenbelt Movement. Participants draw well water, tend crops and animals, sing and dance together. Through Greenbelt’s civic and environmental education programs, they’re building food security.
Many no longer sleep hungry since they have learned to cultivate arrowroot, cassava and yams. Planting trees is a cornerstone of their work. It’s the easiest way to safeguard groundwater, prevent flooding, and grow crops.
Vandana Shiva, Founder, Navdanya, India
One of the most eloquent voices for food democracy, physicist, activist and author Vandana Shiva founded Navdanya, a biodiversity-based organic farm, to challenge Big Agribusiness and its genetically modified seeds. She was inspired in the 1970s by the Chipko women, who hugged trees to save their forest from development and feed their families.
Women are the backbone of farming in India, says co-director Dr. Vinod Kumar Bhatt. He takes us behind the scenes at the farm’s community seed banks. Local farmers become self-sufficient by conserving and multiplying seed. “Biodiversity-based organic farming can do miracles,” says Bhatt. “It can not only increase the production but also help increase the income of small and marginal farmers.”
“Recognizing the Earth as sacred, as divine, means you first and foremost are grateful,” says Shiva. “Each time we sow a crop we know we need the cooperation of the soil as an active, intelligent, creative, sacred being to even give us the next harvest.”
Winona LaDuke, Native American environmentalist, economist and writer, leads her community in becoming healthy and self-sufficient. By preserving indigenous seed and bringing solar and wind power to White Earth, she’s fulfilling that vision. “I want to restore our food, because these foods are our medicine,” she notes. “I’m trying to relocalize and capture that local food economy.”
The Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) people have lived in the region for 9,000 years. “It’s a privilege” to save wild rice from genetic modification, and to stop the damming of a local river. “I don’t consider myself an activist,” LaDuke explains, “just a responsible person.” “You need a green economy.”
Candice Orlando, Executive Director, Urbiculture Community Farms, Denver, CO
Urbiculture Community Farms is transforming empty lots, front and back yards, and school and church grounds into “food wonderlands,” says Candice Orlando. She seeks to ensure food security and to educate as community land is transformed. The food is sold through CSA (community-supported agriculture), with 30% of shares going to low income residents. Denver non-profits are also supplied with fresh food.
Majora Carter, President, Majora Carter Group, LLC, Bronx, NY
A native of the South Bronx, Majora Carter has led revitalization projects to alleviate poverty and remediate the environment. “Communities don’t just happen. They’re made,” she says. Carter worked to establish Hunts Point Riverside Park, the borough’s first waterfront park in 60 years. Green-collar jobs have been created. A place for community celebration was born.
We can become “real heroes and players in our own lives” by remembering that the environment is ours, and we are a part of it, Carter believes.
Diverse voices presented
Also appearing in Arise are: Dana Miller, founder, Grow Local Colorado; Beverly Grant, director, Mo’Betta Greens Farmers Market, Denver; Monica Chuji, Amazonian Quechua human rights activist, Ecuador; Starhawk, author, activist and organizer for global justice; Dr. Theo Colborn, zoologist and president, Endocrine Disruption Exchange; Maggie Fox, CEO, The Climate Reality Project; Aida Shibli, Palestinian Bedouin peace activist; Jessica Posner, CEO, Shining Hope for Communities, Kenya; Bata Bhurji, administrator, Barefoot College, India.
To learn more and to get involved in environmental justice, visit Arise.