Beautiful Short Film Shows a Colombian Mother Preparing Her Daughter for Climate Change

The women head into the mangroves.
The women head into the mangroves.
Photo: Angello Faccini (Jungles in Paris)

There’s a scared kid inside all of us. That’s the first thought I have as I watch Dulce, a documentary short about climate change, and the ways it’s forcing Afro-Colombian women along the Pacific Coast to adapt to rising sea levels.

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The opening scene features young Dulce, a girl who appears no older than seven, crying as she learns to swim. Now, I am definitely not the best swimmer, but swimming is more than a recreational activity for Dulce and the other kids in her village of La Ensenada, Colombia. For them, it’s a matter of life or death.

As a fishing village, much of their time is spent on boats. The villagers use them to harvest the piangua, a cockle that hides in the muds of the mangroves, which the women both eat and sell. It’s been their way of life for generations, but today, the reality of rising sea levels and higher tides threatens the very existence of villages like this.

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Today, the water can sweep their villages away at moment. Other Colombian communities have seen their homes destroyed due to floods.

“Can you imagine if one of these days the water rises so high that the house falls while we’re inside the house,” Dulce’s mom, Betty, asks her while doing her hair in the film. “Those who can swim know what to do. And those who don’t?”

“They drown,” Dulce said, acknowledging that person would be her in this awful hypothetical scenario.

The 10-minute documentary gives viewers just a taste of Dulce’s world. It’s beautifully shot and offers moments of silence—to ponder perhaps, or to imagine being in their shoes. Produced by Conservation International and filmmakers Jungles in Paris, the short has already won Best Documentary Short at the 2018 Palm Springs International Shortfest. Its message around climate change—and who it’ll hit hardest—resonates with people.

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“Whether you’re talking about climate change or water issues, vulnerable communities are at the forefront,” said Anastasia Khoo, an executive producer on the short with Conservation International, to Earther. “And women are no exception to that.”

Around the world, women take up difficult tasks (like collecting these shells) to provide for their families. As the main caretaker for their families, they’ll be the ones most impacted by climate change. Dulce reminds us of this truth.

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The film is still going through the festival circuit, so you’re gonna’ have to catch it wherever it heads next to watch it yourself. In the meantime, enjoy this trailer.

Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

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DISCUSSION

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Produced by Conservation International and filmmakers Jungles in Paris, the short has already won Best Documentary Short at the 2018 Palm Springs International Shortfest.

The first thing I want to know is who the fuck is this Conservation International? According to its website, it’s apparently yet another international environmental nonprofit packed with rich white folks and folks and natural resources rich areas strongmen/women.

Shiiiit, one percent of the net wealth of the board of directors is about the same as Colombia’s GDP:

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

Peter Seligmann 

Chairman of the Board

Arlington, Virginia

CHAIRMAN OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Rob Walton 

Chairman of the Board (retired), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Bentonville, Arkansas

VICE CHAIR

Harrison Ford 

Actor

Los Angeles, California

BOARD MEMBERS

 Dawn Arnall 

Chairman, SBP Capital Corporation

Skip Brittenham 

Senior Partner, Ziffren Brittenham LLP

Wes Bush 

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Jared Diamond, Ph.D. 

Professor, Geography and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles

André Esteves 

Senior Partner, Banco BTG Pactual S/A

Mark Ferguson 

Co-Chief Investment Officer, Generation Investment Management

Robert J. Fisher 

Chairman of the Board, Gap Inc.

Ann Friedman 

Educator

Victor K. Fung, Ph.D. 

Chairman, Fung Group

Jeff Gale 

Chairman & Director of Photography, GreenGale Publishing LLC

Madame Qiaonyu He 

Chairman, Orient Landscape Investment Holdings Co. Ltd.; Founder, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation

Laurene Powell Jobs 

Founder and Board Chair, Emerson Collective

Hon. Alexander Karsner 

Managing Partner, Emerson Collective; Sr. Strategist, Google X

HE Former President S.K. Ian Khama 

Republic of Botswana

Michael Klein 

Managing Partner, M. Klein and Company

Yvonne Lui, Ph.D. 

Yvonne L. K. Lui Foundation

Valerie Mars 

Mars, Incorporated

L. Rafael Reif, Ph.D. 

President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Stewart A. Resnick 

Chairman of the Board, The Wonderful Company

Story Clark Resor 

CEO, TravelStorysGPS

M. Sanjayan, Ph.D. 

Chief Executive Officer, Conservation International

Andres Santo Domingo 

Kemado Label Group

John F. Swift 

Conservationist

Enki Tan, M.D. 

Executive Chairman, Giti Tire Global Trading Pte Ltd.

Byron Trott 

Founder, Chairman and CEO, BDT and Company

Dominique Walton 

Walton Family Foundation

Goddamn bankers, tech titans, second wives of billionaires, and the Walton family of Walmart money. And let’s see here, it looks like Exxonmobil is concerned, too:

ExxonMobil Foundation announces US$10m for sustainable employment, conservation

ExxonMobil Foundation, the philanthropic arm of ExxonMobil, today announced US$10m ($2b) in funding for Conservation International and the University of Guyana (UG) to train Guyanese for sustainable job openings and to expand community-supported conservation.

This is why many folks, Naomi Klein as an example, think the entire environmental nonprofits business is bullshit. On the other hand, as environmental protection through legislation gets gutting here, there and everywhere by Walmart, Google, Exxon et al, there will at least be work for young liberal arts majors in soft sell communications with little interest in actually environmental protection at tax dodging environmental non profits. Get em young.

I’m going to assume someone like FARC will setting the tone in Colombia going forward.