Main content

Hope in a Changing Climate

View on The Global Environmental Justice site

This film and its companion Lessons of the Loess Plateau were selected by Cinzia Fissore, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, Whittier College

Teacher's guide
Please see the teacher's guide for background info, suggested subjects, questions and activities and a discussion of the environmental justice focus of this film. 

Success stories from Ethiopia, Rwanda and China prove that bringing large, decimated areas back from environmental ruin is possible, and the results are key to stabilizing the earth’s climate, eradicating poverty and making sustainable agriculture a reality.

The documentary, filmed in China, Rwanda and Ethiopia demonstrates that it is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems, to restore ecosystem functions in areas where they have been lost, to fundamentally improve the lives of people who have been trapped in poverty for generations and to sequester carbon naturally.

In 1995 the Chinese Government, with support from The World Bank, took drastic action to rehabilitate the loess plateau, and local people – seen as both perpetuators and victims of the devastation – became part of the solution. this degraded ecosystem of more than 35,000 square km of land now teems with life and supports the sustainable economic, social and agricultural activities of its people.

The second half (15 minutes) of the documentary shows the dramatic impact of smaller projects in Ethiopia and Rwanda. Once the scene of devastating droughts in 1984, Ethiopia has used the same approach as that in China to begin bringing areas of arid land back to productivity and ecological balance. In Rwanda, where ecological degradation from over-farming of wetland areas saw the near failure of the country’s hydroelectricity supply, the Government has undertaken a similar project and seen vast improvements.     -- adapted from


Related Films

Lessons of the Loess Plateau

Documents a remarkable paradigm shift: the rebirth of a self-sustaining…

Waking the Green Tiger

Seen through the eyes of activists, farmers, and journalists, Waking the…

Final Straw

For nearly a century, industrial farming has unleashed ecologically destructive…