Guest Post – Wakan Tanka



Wakan Tanka

Wakan Tanka, meaning in the First Nation Lakota Sioux language “Great Spirit” is a powerful documentary film which interweaves the voices of environmental and aboriginal elders with a captivating fictional story that will engage youth on climate change.

The fictional journey follows Zak, a 13 year-old boy, as he makes his way across a nightmarish cityscape to find his way to the safety of his grandparent‘s house. Zak‘s journey through the city represents the journey humankind would have to make in order to rebuild a deeper connection with nature.

Wakan Tanka has the potential to influence millions of young people through the networks of the environmental elders and experts involved in the project and the international bands contributing songs. Between the deep wisdom of these elders and the inspiring music, the film highlights the struggles we face if we continue on our current path and the many alternative pathways to a sustainable future.

In addition to a number of world-famous bands that have contributed their music, the following elders and experts have graciously volunteered their time and commitment to the Wakan Tanka project:

Dr. David Suzuki – Scientist, Environmentalist
Dr. James Hansen – Climatologist and Columbia University Adjunct Professor
Raffi Cavoukian – Singer, Author and Founder of Centre for Child Honouring
James Hoggan – Author of Climate Cover Up and co-founder of
Robert Bateman – Naturalist and Painter
Grandmother Agnes – Chair of the Thirteen Grandmothers
Dr. Pakki Chipps – Ethnobotanist, Author
Guy Dauncey – Climate Change Author and Advocate
Miles Richardson – Haida Gwaii Elder
Manley Little Brave – Sioux Elder
Makere Harawira – Waitaha Elder
Dan Jason – Author, Founder of the Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada
Bristol Foster – Scientist, and Filmmaker
Paul Dickinson – Chairman, Carbon Disclosure Project
Samuel Bullock – Permaculture Designer & Educator
Hwiemtun – Coast Salish Elder
Chickadee – Ojibway Elder

Wakan Tanka has been commissioned by the Institute for Sustainability Education & Action ( a charitable non-profit based in Canada in partnership with UK non-profit A Purpose for Life Foundation, and produced by Substantial Films, UK. ( .

We are in post-production now and only $60,000 from our goal. We’ve recently launched a fundraising Indie go go campaign.

Please donate today and spread the word on your social networks and in your communities. Together we can make a difference. Thank you so much!

Protect the Poles, Protect the Planet

Guest blog by Leah Davidson, Act for Antarctica Campaign

In 2011, I received a scholarship to travel to the Antarctic with a Canadian-based organization called Students on Ice, which takes high school students to the Polar Regions on educational expeditions. For two weeks, I conducted science experiments, listened to lectures from polar experts, studied animal behaviours, and fell absolutely in love with this beautiful continent.

Photo courtesy of Leah Davidson

Why is Antarctica so important?

  • Antarctica is a fascinating ecosystem containing valuable natural resources, including 70% of Earth’s fresh water. Antarctica is also an environment of extremes, as the coldest, windiest, and driest continent on the planet. It represents one of the last true wilderness areas, where animals approach humans without fear and you feel completely distanced from modern civilization.
  • Devoted to peace and science, Antarctica is a rare symbol of international cooperation. According to the Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959, it is illegal to hunt, fish, mine, and pollute on Antarctic territory. Today, around 50 countries have ratified this treaty and agreed to protect the continent.
  • Antarctica is affected by climate change. Due to Antarctica’s geographic location, the temperature is rising at several times the rate of the global average. When we visited Palmer Station, one of the American research bases, the scientists explained that the Adelie penguin population in the area has plummeted and warmer-water species, like Gentoos and fur seals, have taken its place.

Photo courtesy of Leah Davidson

What can you do?

While watching humpback whales glide through perfectly reflective water and our ship pass tabular icebergs illuminated by the glow of the sun, I started to recognize the transformational effect of natural beauty. After returning home to Sherbrooke, Canada, I put together an arts-based anthology called Antarctica: To Be Inspired with the photography and writing of the students and staff on the expedition. My friends and I have also partnered with eco-friendly companies to launch a campaign called Act for Antarctica. We are donating copies of this book to schools and youth groups and giving multimedia presentations, with the hope of educating 1000 youth about Antarctica and motivating them to undertake environmental acts. Acts could include conservation projects, lifestyle changes or awareness events. By sharing these acts via our website and social media outlets, we hope to convey the message that ecosystems are interconnected; therefore, everything you do on a local level contributes to the preservation of Antarctica for generations to come.

Photo courtesy of Leah Davidson