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Aluna: It's not too late to avoid catastrophe if we open our eyes

The COP26 UN climate change conference, where world-leaders are currently meeting to discuss ways to mitigate global warming, sparked new interest in a 2012 feature-length documentary, Aluna. This movie focuses on the ecological warning of the Kogi people, an indigenous group living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains from northern Columbia, and possessing an oral culture that dates back to the pre-Columbian era. 

Aluna is a sequel to a 1990 documentary film, From the Heart of the World: Elder Brother’s Warning, which was screened at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and inspired scientists and policy-makers to take action to protect our endangered planet.

According to the Kogi, the Western civilization has no clear understanding of the forces that our environmental destructions are releasing upon the world. To help convince modern civilization of the importance of preserving our planet, they aim to prove that everything on Earth is alive and interconnected. The Kogi believe that the material world is structured by “aluna” (literally translated as “the mind inside nature”), which they understand as a thought process that shapes and maintains reality, and is the source of all life and intelligence. 

“The Earth is a living body. It has veins and blood. Damaging certain places is like cutting off a limb. It damages the whole body,” a Kogi elder explained. “The water cycle is changing. If you block a person’s vein her blood would not flow. The home of the rain that falls up there is down here. The lagoons down here supply lakes up there,” he added.

To help the film spectators visualize the deep interconnection structuring our world, the Kogis laid a gold thread from one river estuary to another, while showing the damage done to their habitats by deforestation, industrial advancement, and climate events such as droughts or storms. 

“They lay the gold thread from one river estuary in Colombia to another in order to show how the destruction of river estuaries feeds back up the river in the end to destroy the source of the river,” explained Alan Ereira, the director of the movie. “Showing the interconnectedness of everything on the earth, this was the key element in their task, the purpose of which was showing that the Earth itself is a living body in which everything is interconnected, and damage to some of it is damage to all of it.”

Hopefully, the Kogi people’s message will be heard in the Western world, and conservation actions based on a deeper and more respectful understanding of the world will be urgently undertaken. 

Image Credit: © Eric Julien / Tchendukua 2021

By Andrei Ionescu, Staff Writer

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