This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature. DamNationFilm.com
Ladakh, or ‘Little Tibet’, lies deep in the Himalayas in northernmost India. Isolated for centuries by high mountain passes, Ladakh was spared the impacts of colonialism and development that erased so much of the planet’s cultural diversity. In this Tibetan Buddhist culture, people had created a remarkably successful culture, one based on cooperation and sharing. There was no homelessness, no poverty, and no one went hungry. There was no shortage of resources, no pollution. The status of women was remarkably high (higher than in the west), and relations between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority were peaceful and friendly.
Then, in 1974, the Indian government decided to open the region to tourism and development. Almost immediately, problems unknown in Ladakh became endemic. The rapid breakdown of Ladakhi culture after exposure to the global economy brings to light the root causes of many of our most pressing problems — environmental, social, economic, and spiritual.