An Earth Day Celebration

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An Earth Day Celebration

The Jacob Burns Film Center is proud to partner with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-led Equator Initiative to celebrate Earth Day 2024, presenting a program of short films exploring the work of the winners of the 14th Equator Prize.

Join us to learn from inspiring Indigenous leaders from Brazil and Bolivia on how we can steward and best take care of our shared and only home, Mother Earth. Do not miss this unique opportunity to hear from Indigenous leaders traveling from afar to share their knowledge and wisdom with all of us.

The UNDP Equator Initiative recognizes Indigenous peoples and local communities from around the world. These short films explore the winning organizations work, demonstrating how innovative, nature-based solutions can enable communities to achieve their own local development goals, while building community resilience, even in a time of economic, environmental, political, and public health shocks.

This year’s awardees join a network of 286 communities from 89 countries who have been recognized since 2002.

After the screening join Anna Giulia Medri, Team Lead and Partnerships Advisor for the Equator Initiative, in conversation with some of this year’s winners. It promises to be a life affirming afternoon, highlighting the power of community resilience around the world.

Arrive early! Before the screening enjoy music and stunning visuals in the theater from DJ Eric Terena. Eric Terena is a Brazilian journalist and founding member of Mídia Indígena, an Indigenous communication collective.


Presented in partnership with:


Q&A with UNDP Equator Prize Winners
Sunday, Apr. 21 2024, 3:00
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  • Dayana Blanco Quiroga is an Aymara Indigenous woman from Oruro, Bolivia, and the first Indigenous professional woman in her family. She co-founded the Uru Uru Team— an initiative focused on saving Uru Uru Lake from harmful pollution through Indigenous traditional knowledge. The Uru Uru Team was initiated in 2019 by Indigenous youth from the Urus community in Southwestern Bolivia. Their goal was to protect Uru Uru Lake, which has been facing severe pollution issues caused by waste from the nearby city of Oruro. This pollution poses a threat to the Indigenous community, local flora and fauna, and an internationally recognized wetland under the Ramsar convention. As a solution, the Uru Uru Team developed floating rafts that blend Indigenous knowledge with the scientific principles of phytoremediation. These rafts, made from recycled materials and native plants which absorb heavy metals and contaminants, have successfully reduced lake pollution by 30 percent. Through the capacity building efforts of the initiative, the Urus community managed to establish a community garden to support the maintenance of the rafts and generate income. The Uru Uru team showcases an effective model to ensure the well-being of an Indigenous community, preserve their knowledge and cultural identity, while curbing lake pollution to protect biodiversity.
  • Isabel Gakran is a Brazilian climate activist and co-founder and environmental director of Instituto Zág, an indigenous youth-led organization. Instituto Zág is an Indigenous youth-led organization whose key activity is the reforestation and preservation of traditional knowledge around the Araucaria tree, known as Zág. The Zág tree holds sacred and symbolic value to the Xokleng Peoples, but is currently on the verge of extinction due to centuries of uncontrolled exploitation. Reclaiming the traditional territory of the Xokleng Peoples in the State of Santa Catarina, where the Zág tree thrives, is one of the most emblematic struggles for Indigenous rights in Brazil, and in the world today. With only 2% of the Zág tree’s original habitat remaining, the reforestation efforts of Instituto Zág are crucial for the survival of the Araucaria and of the continuation of ancestral wisdom. These efforts include removing invasive trees, valuing ancestral traditions, and conducting educational activities with diverse audiences to safeguard the Araucaria tree as a source of nutrition, medicine, and cultural identity. Through its actions, Instituto Zág recognizes the interdependence between the Zág tree and the Xokleng people.
  • Carl Liwies Cuzung Gakran is a young Indigenous leader and human rights defender dedicated to preserving the culture and environment of the Laklãnõ/Xokleng people in southern Brazil. He leads the Zág Institute, where he focuses his efforts on biodiversity conservation and protecting his people's sacred tree, the Zág, from the danger of extinction. Carl is also active in environmental education and revitalizing the traditional practices of his people. His work extends beyond national borders, taking part in global fora such as the Amazon Summit and UN conferences, where he defends the rights of Indigenous peoples and highlights the challenges they face. The Zág Institute featured prominently at COP28 in Dubai, as part of the "Nature Positive" delegation and contributing to the COP28 opening high-level event alongside world leaders. Its vision of a sustainable future combines ancestral wisdom and environmental action, highlighting the importance of the union between Indigenous culture and the preservation of the environment to face contemporary challenges.

This film is part of the Focus On Nature series.

The Jacob Burns Film Center is proud to receive generous support from:

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