The United Nations recognizes that Indigenous peoples represent less than 5% of the population yet we steward over 80% of the world’s biodiversity. In the face of climate change, ecological collapse and pandemics, indigenous-led species restoration is key to building a resilient future that can withstand and thrive as climate change continues to unravel.
Coupled with advocacy, campaigns and indigenous curriculum, the Run4Salmon prayerful journey for the past 5 years has engaged government officials, lawyers, advocates and everyday people on the 300-mile journey that the endangered Chinook salmon make along the waters of California’s largest watershed to inspire, educate and engage people in restoring this endangered keystone species essential to the health of California lands and waters. As we work to make this life-changing journey accessible for all in the times of COVID-19, we are working to make this tour accessible to anyone anywhere through the creation of a virtual reality video.
We’ve found that there are two major challenges in our work to restore endangered salmon runs and protect our rivers; They are misinformation and disconnection from the natural world.
Misinformation is dangerous in the face of ecological collapse and one powerful solution for that is to create accessible media to disseminate amongst our networks and the people in power who manage the natural resources we rely on.
With the support of the Rose Foundation, in 2019 we led our first boat tour with 10 government officials and were shocked to learn that the large majority of government officials with decision-making power had never been on the river and didn’t have accurate information about the impacts that massive water projects have on fish, water quality and riparian habitats. Another challenge to having more officials joining us was their busy schedules. A VR film would bring the video to government officials’ offices and to children and youth in k-12 and folks with disabilities.