Reconnecting to the Human Tribe

Reconnecting to the Human Tribe

A few years ago MyTree.TV published an interview with Céline Cousteau. Now, there are some treetastic news about her projects… In this fascinating talk, Céline Cousteau takes us on a journey through the lives of the tribes in the Vale do Javari, Brazilian Amazon, and her own personal experience to tell the world these tribes exist and are at risk. Her journey to this remote land, reveals the importance of human connection amongst ourselves, as a tribe, and with Nature. Enjoy Céline’s captivating story and exclusive footage from her current major work.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

This re-connection can be visualized:

… and we should probably not speak about “Sustainability” we should speak about “Enkeltauglichkeit” which means “Grandchildren-Compliance”… RE-connect and think in the longterm.

Do not forget two breaths:  one for the forest and one for the ocean!

Transcript English (auto-generated(!))

Isn’t it amazing, that you can do an auto-generated transcript on Youtbube ? WOW!

0:11 what if your life experiences for
0:23 opportunities opportunities to reconnect
0:26 with yourself with other people and
0:30 perhaps even with your environment think
0:34 about those connections during this talk
0:36 think about those times you were a child
0:38 and you had an experience a moment
0:41 perhaps laughter love friendship a
0:45 moment in nature
0:48 what about your life as an adult I think
0:51 about those moments in the experiences
0:52 that you have are those moments
0:55 possibilities to reconnect to have a
0:58 better understanding of yourself
1:00 maybe your purpose in life what you want
1:04 to be doing and they don’t need to be
1:06 big they can be small
1:08 they don’t need to be grandiose but keep
1:12 those memories in your mind as
1:13 opportunities and during this
1:16 presentation when you think about
1:18 breathing take two breaths when I was
1:24 nine years old I went to the Amazon with
1:26 my family for 18 months they were
1:28 navigating the waters of an area that
1:30 would still yet unknown being discovered
1:33 and I had small responsibilities driving
1:36 the zodiac was perhaps one of them at
1:38 least for the photograph but i was
1:40 working with the scientists and we were
1:42 catching piranha piranhas at nine years
1:45 old
1:46 putting them in the canoe and I remember
1:47 that moment the Piranha was flipping
1:49 about and I pulled my feet up thinking
1:50 it was gonna nibble at my toes and then
1:54 I was given a responsibility a small
1:57 pygmy marmoset one of the crew members
2:00 had rescued it from a market its harness
2:02 cutting it to its skin
2:03 he brought it onto the boat he said
2:05 Celine this is your responsibility you
2:07 must care for it and feed it and so we
2:11 made a new harness and I attached it to
2:13 my shirt and during the day it sat on my
2:15 shoulder hit behind my my hair like a
2:18 veil of protection and I would feed it
2:20 and in that moment I created a
2:22 connection
2:23 with a creature that I knew nothing
2:25 about before but that connection with
2:28 something that stayed with me to this
2:30 day and I remember it fondly and I
2:32 cherish these memories and cherish those
2:34 photographs because they stay with me
2:36 and they have become a part of me and in
2:43 this I am also connected to other humans
2:45 around the planet that perhaps have a
2:46 pet of one sort of another but we all
2:49 have these experiences maybe it’s a cat
2:51 a dog of fish a frog and in these places
2:55 perhaps it’s a little bit different but
2:57 really it isn’t and that relationship we
3:00 have with nature and animals and other
3:02 human beings keep coming back think back
3:04 to your own childhood your own
3:06 experiences remember those connections
3:08 now going along the shores of the Amazon
3:12 when you’re nine years old
3:14 the forest is immense it was immense
3:17 then it is immense now and we were
3:20 navigating the waters and clip so with
3:22 sailing along the Amazon River and there
3:24 was a man standing on the shore line
3:26 with bananas and so we stopped the boat
3:29 we got into the zodiac a little
3:30 inflatable boat and we went to shore and
3:33 we followed this man into the jungle to
3:35 his home and I remember walking across a
3:37 log precariously not wanting to fall
3:40 into the void and this man walked across
3:42 like it was absolutely nothing and
3:45 walking into the forest and smelling the
3:47 humidity and the earth those nutrients
3:50 filling the air and looking up and
3:53 seeing the trees massive and grand jose
3:55 and the light coming through the leaves
3:57 and we followed him to where he had his
4:00 bananas and he said please choose please
4:03 choose bananas from a tree in the Amazon
4:06 and so he said these and he got the tree
4:10 down and my child said why is he cutting
4:13 a tree and my adult now knows a banana
4:17 tree grows for nine months it you take
4:19 its harvest and its fruit and then dies
4:21 and the saplings that come from beneath
4:23 from its roots grow strong because the
4:25 other one fell over I created a
4:28 connection with nature that wasn’t there
4:29 before an understanding of where my food
4:32 comes from and then we walked to his
4:35 home and his wife was cooking something
4:36 on the
4:37 fire and she said please have some and
4:39 we said no we cannot take you have so
4:41 little but she was proud to share what
4:44 she had with us and so we did and I
4:46 remember that moment where I tasted the
4:49 food the smoky taste from the fire the
4:54 texture and I remember looking over to
4:56 the children that were playing with a
4:58 stick and dirt and I remember feeling
5:01 shy because i wanted to go play they
5:03 were having so much fun and feeling envy
5:05 because they looked so happy with
5:08 something so simple and back in my room
5:10 at home I had all these toys wasn’t
5:13 enough was I satisfied no I wanted
5:15 another one in the Barbie doll in the
5:17 stuffed animal in the Lego and this is
5:19 the society that we have created and we
5:21 grow into but it is not the society we
5:24 come from
5:25 it is not the culture that we are all of
5:28 those connections have come back to me
5:30 as an adult and I am NOT saying that
5:32 this life is ideal
5:34 they live a very difficult life of
5:36 existence and survival but there is
5:39 something simple that we need to come
5:41 back to full circle now my adult mine
5:44 says I have a connection to the Amazon
5:46 let me find out more
5:47 the Amazon is the largest rainforest on
5:49 the planet its fans nine countries in
5:51 South America massive and I love maps
5:55 and I start to think Forrest
5:56 deforestation climate change carbon
5:58 sequestration the trees standing hold
6:01 carbon the trees cut release carbon into
6:04 the air that’s not good for us and then
6:07 my mind starts swirling with stress and
6:09 anxiety and thinking what are we doing
6:11 to this planet and of course I look at
6:12 another map because i want to see where
6:14 the deforestation is happening and why
6:16 and if you look at your products if you
6:19 look at the ingredients on the food that
6:20 you eat you start to realize some of
6:23 those products and ingredients come from
6:24 a place that is being deforested in a
6:27 country you don’t live in but you are
6:29 connected to it because one of your
6:31 resources comes from there and this map
6:34 shows the deforestation due to one of
6:36 those resources and you realize there
6:37 are people there and we depend on this
6:40 forest and we are connected to it and
6:42 therefore we are connected to the people
6:44 that are there
6:45 this is a phenomenal map as you’ll see i
6:48 love Maps
6:49 this is a phenomenal map from the
6:51 Institute OC ambiental in Brazil they’re
6:55 working to protect indigenous rights
6:57 what you see in orange are the
7:00 indigenous territories what you see in
7:02 yellow is complete deforestation and in
7:05 purple encroaching deforestation pay
7:08 attention there is no deforestation on
7:10 indigenous land why because they live in
7:13 complete balance and harmony for
7:15 environment why because they live close
7:17 to it and depend upon it for the food
7:19 that they eat indigenous people in
7:24 traditional communities make up four
7:26 percent of the global population yet
7:28 they protect eighty percent of our
7:30 biodiversity biodiversity on which we
7:33 depend for potential future
7:34 pharmaceuticals we are connected to
7:37 these people and the statistics that we
7:39 can read you can all look them up you
7:41 can read them on the street or you can
7:42 just know this that we are intrinsically
7:45 connected through everything
7:48 now remember to take two breaths the
7:53 carbon that goes in the air also comes
7:55 from our oceans are oceans are carbon
7:57 sequester’s I would be denying my family
8:00 heritage if I didn’t talk a little bit
8:02 about our oceans and I wouldn’t want to
8:06 do that because my family is my first
8:09 tribe it is my inner circle it is my
8:12 upbringing and my nature and my nurture
8:14 my second circle the tribe of people
8:17 that I work with that I depend on my
8:19 community my friends
8:21 the ocean is responsible for the second
8:24 breath because microscopic creatures
8:26 called phytoplankton create the air and
8:29 the oxygen that we breathe two breaths
8:32 one from the forest one from the ocean
8:35 and this is a lot of information so
8:39 every now and then you have to reconnect
8:41 to play and to fun take a moment
8:44 exhale remember your childhood
8:51 and this is what it can look like yeah
8:54 if you allow yourself to tap into this
8:58 moment this is what it can still look
9:02 like as an adult you don’t have to let
9:04 that go now in 2007 i went to a place
9:10 called the valid already in the
9:11 Brazilian Amazon going back to places my
9:14 grandfather had been to in the early
9:15 nineteen eighties when I was nine years
9:17 old and in that time I met some
9:21 incredible people the tribes of the
9:22 Divine they asked me to tell their story
9:24 and I said yes tribes on the edges the
9:28 story of the people that Avari a
9:30 territory 85,000 square kilometers
9:33 that’s the size of Austria or Portugal
9:35 that’s a lot of trees my adult mine says
9:38 carbon sequestration my child says I
9:40 wonder if I can eat that food again by
9:44 the way the next time I ate that food as
9:46 an adult all of those memories came back
9:48 it doesn’t even matter what that food is
9:50 you all have lived at your senses your
9:52 smell your site your love your emotions
9:55 they all bring back those memories and
9:57 reconnect you the people of the ravari
10:00 are facing potential disaster
10:03 although their land is designated as
10:04 ancestral territory the laws that
10:06 protect them are infallible the
10:08 government wants to drill because
10:09 there’s oil oil that gets exported where
10:11 to all of us we are connected they are
10:16 facing high rates of hepatitis not
10:18 endemic to the region and they need help
10:20 this is a short excerpt that you will
10:23 hear the interview that I did with
10:26 Sydney / swallow a phenomenal human
10:28 being who for decades in Brazil has been
10:30 defending indigenous land rights and I
10:32 think he summarizes this story perfectly
10:34 is Bonnie awesome Rock major browsable
10:38 recanted Cassandra patrol you guys
10:41 CEO at establishing Dean the student
10:49 pork evilly possible in one of Vida
10:53 register now for keyless new industry
10:56 room and EH one is you have to send home
11:00 balls echo de look at the surface even
11:03 know what my sink email to GI more that
11:07 they’re you preserve us so look with our
11:11 costumes careful war two steamy
11:14 non-indians element are you can gently
11:17 de Vere system 10 my Africa definite now
11:21 i’m going to a motorway mine feat them
11:25 in combat eighties he knows enema
11:31 and that is at the heart of all of this
11:40 to not lose heart to not lose hope
11:43 because we have that capacity to
11:46 reconnect and because knowledge is power
11:48 power is responsibility so what you do
11:51 with that is your power it is the hope
11:55 and it is what can bring you to the next
11:57 point
11:58 how will you choose to reconnect i look
12:01 at these children and I think of the
12:03 future I have a five-year-old and I
12:06 think about what his future is about and
12:08 I think about these children the same
12:09 way am I going to do everything I can to
12:12 reconnect us to each other and to
12:15 ourselves to our understanding of what
12:17 it means to be part of a global human
12:19 tribe these children live in complete
12:23 harmony with their environment because
12:25 there is no other way I did an interview
12:29 with a man named be not too cool matey’s
12:31 from the Mets his tribe in the Safari
12:33 and I asked to be now with my little
12:35 notebook in hand so be now how do you
12:38 live sustainably with your environment
12:41 and he looks at me not understanding my
12:43 questions and I think okay my port union
12:45 is terrible
12:46 let me try to define sustainability in a
12:49 very simple way how do you live in
12:51 balance with your environment and he
12:52 still looked at me like I was not asking
12:54 the right question and his answer was
12:57 almost a question in itself he says well
12:59 when I got a tree for the canoe i’m
13:01going to make I plant one so that my
13:04grandchild or perhaps my
13:06great-grandchild will have a great tree
13:08to make a canoe sustainability we have
13:13come back full circle to this notion of
13:15what it means to live in equilibrium
13:17with our environment we define it
13:19differently with our new reality
13:21sustainable development but it is no
13:24different than that original thought
13:26that original understanding we have
13:29created an industry that has brought us
13:31back full circle to what we always knew
13:33instinctually and that is to live in
13:34balance issues now we have buildings and
13:37air conditioning we have cars we have
13:40technology do not deny all of that is
13:43part of our lives
13:44but integrated into something deeper
13:47because it should be used as a tool and
13:49not as something that is just the end
13:51the portraits you will see here these
13:57are important
13:58each person is a human life and the each
14:01one of them represents something this
14:04idea of adaptation and resilience is
14:08something else that we all have in
14:09common in our world we are perhaps
14:12adapting in a different way with the
14:15tribes of the ravari and everywhere
14:16around the Amazon are seeing is that the
14:18seasons are changing in different ways
14:19they don’t know necessarily when to
14:22plant anymore because the rains come
14:24differently when you have to plant and
14:28harvest for your livelihood when you
14:30have to hunt for the food that you eat
14:31and if you don’t build your home you
14:33don’t have shelter
14:35you are very much connected with
14:37everything that happens
14:38how can we do that in this society if we
14:42are not completely rooted in that idea
14:44of survival
14:45we are all looking for a sense of
14:50who are we whoo-hoo are people who is
14:53our tribe define that for yourself in
14:58whatever way that means you came to a
15:02why why are you here what are you
15:05seeking what will you do with it
15:07you go home to your families your tribe
15:10your friends your tribe
15:12perhaps your colleagues your community
15:14your beliefs that all defines who you
15:17are and maybe you’re looking on social
15:19media for the people that belong in your
15:21tribe but it’s still that same feeling
15:24where are they what can you do for them
15:27and if you have the privilege of having
15:29food and water and shelter and love then
15:34you have an opportunity to give and to
15:36connect and that is such a tremendous
15:39gift to be able to take with you to be
15:43able to think beyond survival beyond
15:45mere adaptation and resilience because
15:47resilience is something else we have in
15:49common what will happen if we do not
15:53adapt if we are not resilient
15:55psychologically emotionally physically
15:57how do we move forward and then comes
16:05the difficult part
16:08what happens when you are met with
16:09adversity when they are really difficult
16:12moments when everything you believe in
16:14and have been fighting for is threatened
16:17will you stand tall in the face of
16:21adversity will your conviction double to
16:25be able to do what you need to do to
16:27move forward because that is a test of
16:30our resilience that is a test of our
16:33ability and those are wonderful moments
16:36working in the Amazon with the
16:38indigenous tribes is never easy
16:40people are complicated no matter where
16:43you go and the conditions are difficult
16:46but I value and cherish the moments
16:49where my conviction is tested that this
16:51project called tribes on the edge will
16:53make a difference in these people’s
16:55lives that a film and an impact campaign
16:59can change the course of their survival
17:01better meru bow from the mobo tribe said
17:05to me Celine this problem did not happen
17:07overnight you will not fix it overnight
17:10exhale and so I remember because that
17:16connects me back to what is happening
17:17there as well and I need that I need
17:21that reconnection as much as all of us
17:23the cemetery or saiba also called kapok
17:28stands tall in the Amazon reaching up
17:31above the jungle canopy but it is
17:35just like the tribes if we are
17:38short-sighted we harvest to this tree to
17:41make homes but the wood rots quickly if
17:45we have the foresight to think further
17:47ahead we protect the tree that creates
17:50and harbors life
17:52it gives fruit and shelter and much like
17:55the tribes needs our support a doubt
17:59Akulina from the Calina tribe taught me
18:02hope when all I was hearing where
18:05challenges and difficulties and
18:06adversity I needed a moment of levity I
18:10needed to go back to
18:11my childhood self and what he did is he
18:15provided hope he said when you are
18:19facing difficulties look to your people
18:21and his hope is uniting his people
18:25together and having pride in cultural
18:29heritage for their future survival and
18:32that is something that I truly believe
18:34will bring us all forward the disconnect
18:36does not exist we have created it and i
18:40encourage all of you to reconnect with
18:42those memories that have created who you
18:44are your people your inner circle your
18:46outer circle your tribe go out and get
18:50encourage your children to go out and
18:53get into the environment and by all
18:55means have fun enjoy life because that
18:58energy is contagious love and
19:00positiveness and optimism is contagious
19:03and it is necessary and please do not
19:07forget two breaths one for the forest
19:11and one for the ocean
19:13thank you

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