Below is a guest post from our friend Estephan Wagner, director of a documentary-in-the-making "Vanishing Worlds", about three communities facing the literal loss of their homelands to an unraveling climate. Vanishing Worlds' stories are a somber reminder of why it's so important we get moving for "Moving Planet" — and build a powerful enough movement that can shift the planet beyond fossi fuels. As Nick Tom, the Native American elder in the trailer, says: "When the people change, the weather will follow." 

Dear team and friends,

For over 2 years a professional team around multi-award winning director Estephan Wagner ( ), has been working on the powerful and intimate documentary Vanishing Worlds. The film explores 3 families around the globe loosing their home and land, and being forced to migrate by changing climates. Nick, one of the protagonists, explains it this way: “Personally for me here in Alaska, climate change has not so much to do with science discussions, but with loosing our livelihood. The permafrost is melting under our feet; the usual autumn storms are arriving in summer and eroding the shore; the balance in our fragile tundra is being lost.”

And that is exactly what this film is exploring, the living reality behind the theme of Global Warming. For our protagonists in Alaska, India and China, it is not a question of ‘when’ climate change will affect them. The question is much more extreme. It is literally if they will survive it or not.

Who are these people?

– Nick Tom is a Yup’Ik elder. When he was a boy his father told him once a big change was coming. Now Nick Tom tells his grandchildren, the change is here. And it is much bigger than imagined. His hometown Newtok is a remote Yup’Ik Eskimo village in the Alaskan tundra, and it is literally sinking. The permafrost, the frozen muddy ground on which everything is build is melting. Houses are sinking; the water is not freezing until late into the winter, making it dangerous to leave the village. Just a few months ago a father with his child died when their snowmobile crashed into a lake; although it was deep winter, the ice was not solid enough. Nick Tom’s son Stanley is the tribal administrator. He is organizing the relocation, a huge undertaking. Nick Tom is helping his son to build America's first climate-change refugee camp, their future home.

– In their lifetime the old cousins Binodini and Durga have lost 8 houses to the Indian Ocean. Their island Ghoramara has shrunk by 2/3 in only 30 years. They live of the land though, and without it there is no food, no income, no subsistence. Their children now work for miserable wages as day laborers, helping the family to survive. Their houses are build directly on the embankment, overseen the huge Indian Ocean. They live there because it is the only governmental land, and they can’t be evicted from there. At least not be people. The rising sea has no compassion. But now that most of their island has been eroded away, there is no land left to escape to. On every single embankment there are mud-sheds now, all equally vulnerable. Binodini and Durga, the two old ladies that together have survived so many catastrophes, don’t know where to escape to when the new storm hits in.

– Zhou is a farmer, as every generation has been before him. His family owned big, fertile fields in the Northern Chinese flatlands. But the surrounding deserts have dried Zhou’s land, and sandstorms poison the air. His neighbors have left, and his village has become a ghost town. First the government built a huge infrastructure system, miles and miles of channels, to bring water from the distant Yellow River to an artificial lake only a few hours away from his hamlet. But it was not enough. The lake has also dried out. In fact almost 20% of the surface of China have become deserts. The government wants the people to fight back and stop the dunes and sandstorms. So they have prohibited them to migrate. But how will Zhou and his family survive now that his land is being covered with sand?

The project has involved a massive amount of research work. With the initial funding from the BBC and the UK Film Council the director spent 3 weeks at each location, building up trustworthy relationships and filming. But with international negotiations becoming more and more stuck, big parts of the film-industry is shutting their doors to films about climate change. As a well-known American commissioner phrased it: “Climate Change has become unsexy.” We think it is sexier and more important than ever!

And therefore the team around 'Vanishing Worlds' has decided to start financing the film in a collective, democratic way. So that everybody concerned about this theme, everybody feeling climate justice should be spread, everybody wanting to learn more about the people at the forefront, can join in and be part of this adventure. So, we have launched the VANISHING WORLDS Crowd Funding Campaign.

Your help will be decisive — By participating in this campaign you and your friends will make this film happen. You can contribute at:

Please also spread the word. Copy and paste this text and send it to your friends and family. Why? Because everyone’s participation does make a huge difference! We need to tell this story now, to make people understand in a gripping visual way, that we need to come back to 350ppm CO2. That we can’t live on as if nothing would be happening. Only as collective groups of people, will we be able to fight back. Only that way will we influence our governments to take measures to make sure, that the coming generations in Alaska, India, China and worldwide will be able to live on a healthy planet!

Find out more about this documentary at:


VANISHING WORLDS on the directors Website

Participate here:

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