Ecuador: Defenders of the Rainforest

When I was in the Ecuadorian rainforest community of Sarayaku we met a
young film-maker named Heriberto Gualinga. He was the brother of our
two local guides, Ingaro and Gerado who made the week-long river
journey with us from Puyo down to Kapawi near the Peruvian border.

his traditionally built family home made of wood and palm thatch,
Heriberto set up his laptop (powered by solar panels) and gave us an
impromptu viewing of his film Soy Defensor de la Selva (I am the
defender of the rainforest). He had been sponsored to make his film by
Accion Creativa, an organisation which supports social change through
the use of film and other creative media.

The film shows the struggle in Sarayaku against the incursions of the
oil companies who had been granted exploration rights by the
Ecuadorian government. The community at Sarayaku strongly oppose this
exploration which would destroy the rainforest and when oil workers
moved into their territory, Heriberto was there to film their
resistance. Heriberto gave us a copy of the film, which I’d shown to
friends, but now I see it’s up on Youtube, so I’d love you to watch
it. The version above is 3 minutes long, but if you’d like to see the
full 15 min film, the links are also below. It was a lesson for me in
how the use of media is crucial in allowing remote communities to have
a voice and take their message to the wider world. And I hope that we
bloggers can also use our web-voice in a positive way on issues that
affect our world – so spread the word!
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