Dear readers, let’s go back in time.
2015, November 13th in France, Stanzin Dorjai, an Indian filmmaker was in my city for a couple of days and I had the opportunity to meet him, thanks to mutual friends. He took on his time to show us his latest movie and this was a wonderful moment to talk about it right after the viewing.
This is when I discovered the documentary he made with Christiane Mordelet “Jungwa: the broken balance”. This masterpiece shows an unconventional story about Stanzin’s roots in Gya, a remote village in India where he was born and raised before making his way to education in visual medium and university. This is when I first saw the gorgeous images of his hometown and his relatives.
Unfortunately, this piece of work is not all rainbows and butterflies, it was not made to give you the wish to visit this part of India, it was created to show the broken balance between the elements, the consequences of climate change in a Buddhist village where all the inhabitants don’t know anything about this concept.
In 2010, Gya went under a natural disaster: the melting ice of the glaciers triggered a mudslide that trapped the village underneath. When the flow stopped, people did not have any other choice than putting the rubbles away to start to rebuild houses made of wood and stones. At this point, Stanzin decided to take his camera to film this climatic catastrophe, this was the moment to show the world what climate change meant concretely. Nevertheless, our filmmaker had to struggle with his own image toward his loved ones, who resented him for not helping them to remove the remains. But little did they know at the time that he was doing much more, preparing to show everybody what kind of thing we should be expecting if we don’t change our way of living very quick.
The thing is, climate change couldn’t be the reason of this event for those villagers as they do not have access to information and education the way we do. Their Buddhist culture pushed them to think that this tragedy was a consequence of their bad behaviors in previous lives. Then, they peacefully put themselves to work as they believed that this was only their fault. Working together was a way to share their burden.
This night of 2015, I was equally amazed by the beauty of this movie and the solidarity of all of those people. After the film ended, we talked about it. We discussed the fact that our actions in one place of the world can impact tremendously some other places. How could we have thought that the pollution in industrialized countries and the raise of the greenhouse gas effect would have led to the destruction of a whole village in the Ladakh region, foothills of the Himalaya, a part of India that seemed to be untouched?
I believe that the hardest part of the story was to see that those victims thought it was somehow their fault as this was, regarding their beliefs, their karma.
I do not write this article because I want to show that this wasn’t a god’s action but only our own consequences (who knows?) but I want to share this experience with you to tell you that this is not because we don’t observe consequences of climate change in our neighborhoods that is does not exist. Some people still believe that climate change is a lie for many reasons and that the increase of temperature in our modern countries is just a natural evolution we do not control.
In my opinion, I wonder how can we refuse to believe that all the pollution we made in the last decades cannot impact our environment, especially when we live in industrialized countries with an incredible ease to access any source of information? How can we refuse to think that the destruction and the degradation of earth (soils, water, air, plants, etc…) would never impact the perfect balance between all of the elements (including us)? Do we have to make 10 years long studies to prove that something’s wrong with our way of living? How long is it going to take for us to stand up?
“Come on, what can we do to make a difference? I do not choose to take my car to go to work, there is no other mean available from my home to my workplace”, “I don’t make enough money to by local organic food”, “I do not choose to buy over-packaged yoghurts when I go grocery shopping”. Many excuses are based on realities (I know, I have been in those situation), but we can start to do many little things to make the ecological transition take place. Recycle, read labels, get informed about what you eat, what you wear and what you do. Raise your awareness about your actions, your life and the way it impacts the rest of the world. You will see that by learning a bit about your environment, you will discover paths and choices you didn’t think existed before. You can choose to buy or not, you can boycott. You can learn or stay blind. You can act or watch others act for you. In this case, I hope they will make the choices you wanted.
Anyway, this night, a person there asked the filmmaker “Stanzin, according to you, why do your people showed so much solidarity toward each other? Why do those villagers reacted with so much goodness when we are not doing so in our countries?”. I was expecting him to talk about Buddhism, the culture of sharing and the fact that in small villages, people know all the inhabitants, creating a natural reaction of gathering their forces together. Instead, Stanzin answered, with a calm voice, “ I believe that this is the access to superfluous belongings that destroys solidarity”. Indeed, when you don’t have enough to survive and your neighbors are in the same condition, you find a way to help each other no matter what. It becomes more difficult the get together around one cause when you have more than you need. You are less willing to help the one that has been showing surpluses at some point because, let’s face it, we do all have a way to make it, don’t you think?
From climate change to peaceful reactions and solidarity, this night will stay in my head for a very long time, realizing that I have more than I could imagine, but I probably won’t be able to count on my unknown neighbors if I need help. Dear readers, this night, on November 13rd of 2015, when I was sitting on my chair listening to Stanzin’s answers, getting chills in my body from his powerful speech on helping each other, the Bataclan was covered in blood and two bombs exploded, at this very moment, in the middle of Paris.
Whether you believe in climate change or not, that is you point of view. Nonetheless, are you really willing to stay on this path? And above all, are you willing to take the risk of breaking definitely the balance between all of the elements? Or, are you ready to stand up and solidarize with people all over the world to rush into the ecological transition?
Dear reader, if you are interested in watching “Jungwa : the broken balance”, you can watch it here for 4,73 € : https://vimeo.com/ondemand/jungwathebrokenbalance
Also, Stanzin was awarded many times for his movies, don’t hesitate to google his name to find more information about him and his amazing work, maybe it will light up something inside of you.
And if you liked his work, please watch also “The shepherdess of the Glaciers”, one of the most beautiful movie I have ever seen.
Dear reader, take care.