From the Mara Soil – a Film About Simple and Natural Solutions to Poverty, Hunger and Disease


Title From the Mara Soil – a Film About Simple and Natural Solutions to   Poverty, Hunger and Disease
Director(s) Steve Schrenzel
Date   released (year) 2011
Production   company Global   Resource Alliance
Length 39.33
Location Tanzania
Keywords/tags Global hunger,   natural resources
Link to film
Synopsis What if global hunger, poverty and disease could be solved with resources   already at our disposal? From the Mara Soil transports you to a community in   rural Tanzania that is doing just that – solving humanity’s greatest   challenges with simple, natural and affordable solutions.

A small plot of sandy, dry land is being transformed into a nutrient-rich   food forest. Women are escaping the hazards of daily life by capturing the   energy of the sun. The community is discovering cures to deadly disease in   local plants and natural medicine. A local non-profit is tapping into clean,   pure water just below the bedrock….

This visually stunning film captures the daily pain and suffering caused by   poverty in Tanzania, and the creativity and courage of the Mara community in   finding practical solutions to their own problems.


Reviews/discussion Hilton Worldwide LightStay Sustainability Award &   Fund, 2012   Hilton Worldwide and Sundance Institute
Best Short Documentary Film, 2012 Peace on Earth Film Festival   Chicago, IL
Best Sustainable Practices Film, 2011 Green Screen Environmental Film   Festival Santa Monica, CA

GRA is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization   dedicated to bringing hope, joy and abundance in the Mara Region of Tanzania.   By sharing ideas, volunteers and financial resources with local, community   based organizations we seek to promote natural, holistic and sustainable   solutions to the challenges of poverty, malnutrition and disease. The   inspiration and leadership for our work comes from the communities we serve.   We believe that empowering local communities to address pressing social,   economic and environmental challenges according to their own vision and their   own creative potential is the key to lasting solutions.



Links to   other resources Dryland Permaculture with Bill   Mollison:

See Hope in a Changing Climate:

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai


Title Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai
Director(s) Alan Dater and Lisa Merton
Date released (year) 2008
Length 81 mins
Production company Independent
Location Kenya
Keywords/tags Kenya, women,   deforestation, activism, planting trees, feminism, environmental justice,   ecofeminism, land degradation, environmentalism
Link to film
Synopsis TAKING ROOT: The Vision of Wangari Maathai   tells the story of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization   encouraging rural women and families to plant trees in community groups, and   follows Maathai, the movement’s founder and the first environmentalist and   African woman to win the Nobel Prize. Maathai discovered her life’s work by   reconnecting with the rural women with whom she had grown up. They told her   they were walking long distances for firewood, and that clean water was   scarce. The soil was disappearing from their fields and their children were   suffering from malnutrition. “Well, why not plant trees?” she suggested.

Maathai   soon discovered that tree planting had a ripple effect of empowering change.   In the mid-1980s, Kenya was under the repressive regime of Daniel arap Moi,   whose dictatorship outlawed group gatherings and the right of association. In   tending their nurseries, women had a legitimate reason to gather outside   their homes and discuss the roots of their problems. They soon found   themselves working against deforestation, poverty, ignorance, embedded   economic interests and government corruption; they became a national   political force that helped to bring down the country’s 24-year dictatorship.

Using   archival footage and first-person accounts, the film documents dramatic political   confrontations of 1980s and 1990s Kenya and captures Maathai’s infectious   determination and unwavering courage through in-depth conversations with the   film’s subjects. TAKING ROOT captures a world view in which nothing is   perceived as impossible. The film also presents an awe-inspiring profile of   one woman’s three-decade journey of courage to protect the environment,   ensure gender equality, defend human rights and promote democracy—all   sprouting from the achievable act of planting trees.




Awards & Festivals:

2008, Winner,   Audience Choice Prize, Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal   (RIDM)

2008, Winner,   Prix Ecocamera (Ecocamera Award), Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire   du Montréal (RIDM)

2008, Winner,   Margaret Blank Award for Storytelling Vermont International Film Festival

2008, Winner,   Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award, Durban International Film   Festival

2008, Winner,   Green Cinema Award, Maui Film Festival

2008, Winner,   Audience Award, Projecting Change Film Festival, Vancouver

2008, Winner,   Audience Award Winner, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

2008, Winner,   Full Frame Women in Leadership Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival,   Durham, North Carolina

2008, Winner,   Nashville Women in Film & Television Award for Best Feature Length Film   Directed or Co-Directed by a Woman Nashville Film Festival

2008, Winner,   Best Documentary Feature, Honorable Mention, Nashville Film Festival

Below taken from:

“Highly recommended”
read Video   Librarian review…

“We have just completed the month-long book tour [The   Challenge for Africa] and … hardly was there a place we went that people did   not mention Taking   Root. It has been a wonderful project… I hope the film will   continue to inspire people across the globe especially as the message is so   fitting for our time.”

Wangari Maathai
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Founder of the Green Belt Movement,
and subject of Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

“[Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai]   portrays a woman’s fight against all odds not to be a victim in her own   natural environment. Indeed, ‘the tree woman’ and her initiative of planting   trees led to the emancipation of women in her community. Through this act,   she became the epitome of success and a role model of an enriching   woman.”
read more…

International Images Film Festival for Women,
Zimbabwe upon presenting the Best Documentary Award

Taking Root underscores the critical importance of   education to a social movement. It portrays a vision of education that is not   about changing people’s heads, but ultimately changing the conditions under   which people live. We can talk in the classroom about education for social   change, but this extraordinary film provides a model for change that engages   and inspires. It is worth a hundred hours of classroom talk…both the film   and the woman are truly extraordinary!”

Dr. Thomas Heaney,
Adult & Continuing Education
National-Louis University


Links to other resources Official   site:


From filmmakers Alan Dater and Lisa Merton:

We hope that TAKING ROOT: The Vision of Wangari Maathai will help viewers to see their relationship to the natural world in a different way. The connection between a healthy environment and healthy communities is at the core of the work of the Green Belt Movement, the NGO that Wangari Maathai founded in 1977, when she realized that the problems the rural women were having were directly related to their degraded environment. In taking steps to ameliorate their situation by planting trees, these women were not only addressing their immediate problems but the root cause of those problems as well.

Viewers   have been moved and inspired by TAKING ROOT, and we hope that inspiration   leads to action. The path that Wangari Maathai took from environmental   justice to social and economic justice and then, ultimately, to peace, is   what inspires audiences. They start to make connections that they have   perhaps not made before.

In   that spirit, we have partnered with the Katahdin Foundation to produce an action   guide. The guide encourages people to take action in   their local communities by becoming aware of trees and encouraging people to   plant trees, and to make the connections between tree-planting, clean air,   strong children and healthier communities and ultimately a healthier planet.   We hope that TAKING ROOT encourages viewers to ask questions such as, “Who is   living in degraded environments in the United States and why?” and then to   seek solutions.

We   also hope that the historical context of the film will raise awareness about   how colonialism across the globe has been, and continues to be, at the root   of environmental destruction in the “developing world.” Viewing the   land as a commodity, and the extraction of resources as more important than   anything else, has led us to the global climate crisis in which we find   ourselves today. This way of doing business in the developing world continues   without taking into account the livelihoods, well being and environmental   sustainability of local communities; we take what we need and leave.


Deforestation   101: