The Global Rainforest Crisis Project is an all-volunteer collaboration of dedicated still photographers and filmmakers coming together to bear witness to the accelerating environmental catastrophe, human rights violations and land grabs taking place right now in the ever-diminishing rainforests along the equator. With unprecedented consumer demand and 21st century technology, history has never witnessed irreparable damage on such a scale to the "lungs of our planet". Our team is focused on documenting the stories of rainforest peoples, their knowledge, the wisdom they have to offer and their loss.
Founder: James Whitlow Delano
On his first trip to Malaysian Borneo in 1994, Delano encountered industrial-scale logging inching closer to the Indonesia border, wilderness less than a decade before. Indigenous Dayak peoples found themselves unable to obtain sustenance from the rainforest as they had for centuries and, lacking the training for the cash economy, many were forced to work for the very companies profiting from the destruction of their ancestral forest homelands. Delano began documenting other indigenous peoples in Southeast Asia, some verging on extinction as distinct peoples, losing land rights to only land they'd ever known. Recently, he has attempted to get out in front of the expansion of resource extraction by new Asian players in Africa and South America.
His work has been published and exhibited throughout the world and led to four monograph photo books, the first being “Empire: Impressions from China” and the latest on the “Black Tsunami: Japan 2011” on the epoch-changing triple disaster in Japan. Projects have been cited with the Alfred Eisenstadt Award (from Columbia University and Life Magazine), Leica’s Oskar Barnack, Picture of the Year International, NPPA Best of Photojournalism, PDN and others for work from China, Japan, Afghanistan and Burma (Myanmar), etc. In 2015, I founded EverydayClimateChange (ECC) Instagram feed, where photographers from 6 continents document global climate change on 7 continents. ECC bears witness that climate change is not happening “over there” but it is also happening right here and right now. ECC is not a western view on climate change because photographers come from the north, the south; the east and the west; and are as diverse as the cultures in which we were all raised.
Co-partner: EG ERiksson
I grew up in Finland, where modernity sits side by side with deep-rooted respect for the solitude of nature. Egalitarian ideals further ensured, not only respect for the wilds but also access. For all.
In a world of ever more compressed mental and physical space, my lifetime has seen this archetypal right diluted to serve the dual paradigms of urbanisation and privatisation.
Being brought up in a minority multi-ethnic family I have always been an outsider, yet able to identify with the fundamental values we all share. This informs my empathy and understanding.
A counter weight is a background in environmental science that guides a thoughtful and analytical research process.
Exploring the relationships between human and natural worlds, within the framework of my childhood privilege, is one of the driving themes of my work. In particular the nature of power and how centralized political and economic structures can undermine and slowly destroy a community. This includes traditional linkages to the natural environment that have passed down from generations.
Now based in South Africa I have spent the last years, looking at environmental issues through a socio-economic prism. In particular looking how historical inequality has left an enduring legacy impacting how communities access natural resources.
“The Flipside” is a short documentary film lifting the veil on one of Africa’s most valuable illegal wildlife exports, Abalone (Haliotis midae). The piece examines the predicament of a fishing community as it struggles to come terms with an exclusion to fishing rights.
Co-Partner: Lara Damiani
Lara Damiani is a passionate documentary film-maker who has directed, produced and distributed documentary films for television and industry. She cares deeply about her subjects and the characters she brings to life on film.
She has worked around the world and has extensive experience working in in harsh and remote locations.
Her television credits include "Tibet’s Cry for Freedom", a portrayal of Tibet’s struggle between autonomy and independence. This film won acclaim and included original, first-hand interviews with the Dalai Lama, the
Tibetan Prime Minister (Professor Samdhong Rinpoche), and exiled Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng.
Lara also produced a 120 minute feature DVD about the Dalai Lama called "The Man in Maroon" using excerpts of her interview with the Dalai Lama and interviews with famous musicians who talk about his relevance to our world today.
Lara’s current television film projects include "Banjo". This film, which received development funding from the South Australian Film Corporation, tells the story of Aboriginal elder Banjo Morton who led the first walk-off by Aboriginal stockmen in the NT in 1949. Her newest feature documentary project currently in development features two female ophthalmologists working at the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology.
Lara established Think Films to provide film and media production services to NGOs and International Humanitarian and Development Organisations around the world.
Contributor: Kent Wagner
Kent Wagner is a photographer, audio producer, and filmmaker concentrating on environmental, cultural, and natural history topics. He has recently completed projects for the National Park Service, NASA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Center for American Indian Resilience.
A former engineering major at Berklee College of Music, he holds a degree in Electronic Media and Film from Northern Arizona University, and is presently working on an MFA in Documentary Film at American University in Washington, DC.
With support from the Center for Environmental Filmmaking and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, Kent is making a film about deforestation in Borneo and its effects on the indigenous Dayak people.