“This past year spotlighted the inequalities Latinos, Black, Indigenous and other communities face in all aspects of their lives – from the disproportionate rates of COVID-19 affecting people of color to the harmful effects from climate-fueled natural disasters,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “Through Our Heritage, Our Planet Film Week, we want to elevate BIPOC stories, culture and heritage and lived experiences in an area where they are underrepresented.”
Not only do communities of color care about the environment, but they are also suffering at a disproportionate rate from the severe consequences of climate change. Latinos and other communities of color in the US are three times as likely to live somewhere that is “nature deprived” than white communities. This means there are far fewer parks, forests, streams, beaches, and other natural places near Black, Latino, and Asian communities. This “Nature Gap” has left a legacy of poorer health and COVID-19 severity, higher stress levels, worse educational outcomes, lack of recreation and business opportunities and greater vulnerability to extreme heat and flooding in these nature-deprived neighborhoods. During the film week, HAF hopes to inspire BIPOC filmmakers to share their stories, but also to start a dialogue between communities and decision-makers around the importance of BIPOC communities engaging in climate action and policy.
The festival will be 100 percent virtual, free to attend for all, and will feature interactive discussions between artists, communities, and decision-makers on environmental topics. We will be showing a variety of short and feature films relating to the themes of Lands and Nature, Climate Crisis, Equity, Justice, and Health, and Ocean and Waterways. The schedule for the film week will be:
Tuesday, October 12 - Lands & Nature Day
Cultural, religious, and ancestral connections to nature and the land; adventure stories; ecosystems and biodiversity on land; parks and protected areas on land; nature-based solutions; land-based natural resources; urban nature; traditional land management knowledge and practices; restorative agriculture; etc.
Wednesday, October 13 - Climate Day
Stories of climate hazards such as flooding, sea-level rise, wildfires, hurricanes, extreme heat, or drought; climate risks to people, ecosystems, and biodiversity; climate solutions; urban sustainability; threats from fossil fuels and greenhouse gases; threats from plastics; climate governance; etc.
Thursday, October 14 - Equity, Justice, & Health Day
Connections between pollutants and health; nature and health; correcting historic injustices; ties between racial justice, civil rights, social rights, and environmental and climate justice; just food systems; just transition; just recovery from the pandemic; etc.
Friday, October 15 - Ocean & Waterways Day
Cultural, religious, and ancestral connections to waterways and the ocean; ocean and water governance; water protectors; water and marine ecosystems and biodiversity; freshwater conservation; ocean and freshwater natural resources; water adventures; etc. For Ocean & Waterways Day, HAF will debut our new ocean film, El Canto del Mar. In a poetic and compelling narrative, El Canto del Mar (Song of the Sea) will explore the lives of five different Hispanic characters and their relationship with the ocean. Through the creation and debut of this film, HAF aims to inspire our viewers about this vast shared resource that endlessly provides for us, reinforcing that it is and always has been a part of the Hispanic heritage, while engaging audiences in the urgency to protect it.