Indigenous Activists Fight Climate Change

Immunto (Change)

Island Reach Foundation (2020)

Film Review

This is a documentary about indigenous activism against climate change and growing collaboration between Third and First World activists to minimize and mitigate catastrophic climate change.

The indigenous communities featured are from Vanuatu, Morocco, Uganda, and Vietnam.

Owing to rising sea levels and a loss of protective coral reefs, the islands of Vanuatu are facing flooding of coastal homes and loss of crops due to salinization* of their soils. They also face more frequent and devastating tropical storms. Their climate activists are working to regenerate their reefs via a process known as “coral gardening.” They are also replanting forests and trying to strengthen ties with first world activists.

Morocco and Uganda are experiencing increased desertification due to decreased rainfall. In Morocco, activists are trying a new technology called “fog harvesting.” They use finely woven nets to trap rainwater, which they collect and pipe to local villagers.

Vietnam is experiencing record heatwaves, droughts, and floods, in addition to salinization of their ground water.

Climate activists there have launched a campaign against international banks seeking to fund a new Vietnamese coal plant.

The film also looks at successful climate action campaigns undertaken by Scottish XR members (eg when they occupied the Scottish parliament to hold their own citizens assembly) and climate activists at Standing Rock and in Boston and various Dutch cities.

The filmmakers finish by highlighting an international campaign to pressure the UN to declare ecocide** an international crime subject to International Criminal Court jurisdiction.


*Soil salinization (salinisation) refers to increasing salt concentrations in soil. It’s most often caused seawater contamination (due to rising sea levels).

**Ecocide is criminalized human activity that violates the principles of environmental justice, such as causing extensive damage or destroying ecosystems or harming the health and well-being of a species.

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