Green Gold

Green Gold

2012, Environment  -   42 Comments
Ratings: 8.80/10 from 108 users.

Environmental filmmaker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits to people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally.

The film takes you to China, Jordan, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Bolivia, and features the PRI's own Geoff Lawton, who adds impetus and technical know-how to John's impressive toolbox.

It's the story of healing landscapes at scale, and, with it, restoring life, livelihoods, security and a future. This documentary is not just a tale of hope, it's evidence of hope - it's proof that we do not need to give in to apathy and despair. Instead, we see we have the simple solutions right in front of us.

More great documentaries

42 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Siddharth

    I feel this documentary very very interesting and something like this is getting produced , where people understand the importance of climate change. This is defiantly going to be an educator to people around world. Also what i learnt from this is that you don't have to be an expert or geologist/agricultural specialist /ph.d to start with such initiative as person from entire different field who is photo/videographer can do this ? What is required is the will to stand against climate change and act on it.
    SwamiVivekand Quote " Arise,awake and donot stop until the goal is reached."
    Lets make this earth more greener .Thanks you

  2. Rachel

    A good introduction to the idea of "greening" the desert. My only complaint is that it doesn't go into any details about the actual process of transforming degraded landscapes into functional landscapes. While it's great that these projects exist and the documentary highlights the success stories, it's really only a surface level introduction to the topic. If you're looking for a video on the nitty gritty ins and outs of the process behind what goes on in that 3-5 year period of transformation, this documentary is not the video for that.

    1. Sarpanitum

      Yes! You hit the nail square on the head. There is absolutely no "How To" description in this documentary. Perhaps they were afraid that the details would have bored us. I loved then "then" vs "now" pictures but I wanted to know how they did it.

  3. satchseven

    Bringing Obama into this? clear symptom of ODS(Obama Derangement Syndrome)

  4. Jessie Bradley

    Great documentary that doesn’t just show the problems of land degradation but also the solutions we can implement to reverse the process and make sure it doesn’t happen to other ecosystems. One of the things said by John D. Liu that I found very interesting was ‘The source of wealth is the functional ecosystems, the products and services that we derive from those are derivatives. It’s impossible for the derivatives to be more valuable than the source. And yet in our economy now as it stands the products and services have monetary values, but the source, the functional ecosystems are zero’.

    This points out the most important flaw of our economic system. Another interesting thing he said was ‘There are areas which are brittle and fragile and arid or hyper arid like here and then there are areas which are able to create huge amounts of biomass like in the tropics, so what about linking these two areas together, what about generating huge amounts of organic material and moving it here, or at least a percentage of it, you don’t want to deplete the fertility there, but a small amount of that could come. If that came here, you would create an industry there instead of them using slash and burn agriculture to grow crops which they can’t even feed themselves with and destroy what is the most valuable thing about their system.

    They would have money and a job and then here you would have another industry to do restoration. So this would create two huge industries, employ untold numbers of people and put us on a pathway towards sustainability that is constantly sequestering carbon, infiltrating more and more rainfall, giving us food stability in places that are now experiencing famine, its extraordinary’. It most certainly is extraordinary and I hope that this combined with permaculture will end up happening in more and more depleted areas!

  5. jean-claude Catry

    that is ultimately the work, yet people have lost their connection to the natural world , and don't develop the empathy . that explain why this work is not taken on . i spent years regenerating ecosystems and realised, it touch and inspire only people who had some nature connection experience as kids and can still remember where do they come from. so today i nurture the soil in the heart of people so they can remember when we were all hunter and gatherers , and connection to all in a circle, was necessary to survive . when we became agricultural we lost something fundamental and our vision shrank to who become the ennemy... i miss masanobu fukuoka 's simplicity of his vision : just sow seeds!

  6. Oscar

    I am amazed by the beauty of the results, maybe even more than I am amazed by the simplicity of the science behind it: overgrazing is bad, grass roots hold soil and water=life, trees hold soil and protect the land from direct rain and protects organisms from uv-light, etc.

    I am also amazed by the way Mr. Liu handles with people and governments and convinces them to try and just do it, knowing how much those trees cost they planted in Ethiopia for instance, or those fences in China.

    And I totally agree with Andre!

  7. Andre E Bordeleau

    HOPE, now take this to every school in your respective countries and show the kids not the rotten politicians and their corporate bosses...our future not theirs!


    I've been saying this stuff since 1980. This film made me cry with relief. It's like watching an opening in an awareness happen in front of me. I am so grateful. Good will prevail. Thank you to everyone in that film and Mr. Liu.

  9. Bungaroosh

    Far too little
    Far too late

    1. Scott Gibboney

      FALSE !, restoration of soil in little as 3 years.

  10. Kestas Vaskys

    this all makes too much sense to be done

  11. Victoria Wells

    Having heard so much recently about the increasing levels of greenhouse gasses and the limited time in which we can even start doing something about it, it was a relief to know that things can and are being done to remedy this. Eternally grateful.

  12. Imightberiding

    Thanks for this one TDF. Well done. Important film for all to see.

  13. Ryan Hahn

    If humanity used plant based foods instead of animal based, we can:

    1. Wipe out world hunger, by eating direct from the source.

    2. Enjoy healthy and longer lives, free from the pharmaceuticals' grasp. Read "The China Study" by Dr. Campbell. It will open your eyes about the harms of meat and dairy industries.

    3. Improve our environment.

  14. Buzz Knapp-Fisher

    Green world free from toxic oil. Love what you are doing

  15. Linda Degaetano

    Check out thevenusproject or thezeitgeistmovement dotcoms for info on a Resource Based Economy. It's this great idea already outlined on a global scale. "Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come" -Victor Hugo and guess what kids, i think a RBE is that idea. As this video shows, let's use our knowledge, resources & technology (wisely vs destructively) as one family to move beyond politics, poverty, war & the need for money which is actually holding us back. As a granny searching for intelligence on this planet, I feel this generation can move towards this. To create a better future for future generations. I was moved with a great deal of 'hope' in my heart from this video. Thank you. Luv, Mamma D "^_^"

    1. Ryan Hahn

      I agree on the Resource based economy. But we should first set ourselves free from the grasp of the Big Corporations. I only eat plant based foods, don't watch TV, and don't buy anything from them unless I totally need it.

      As a result, I'm healthier than I've ever been( I'm 49, get mistaken for looking in my 30's), my mind is clear from the media junk, and I don't have any debts.

      By far, the decision to go plant based foods improved the quality of my life, more than any other single decision. It's easy to do these days, with all the tasty foods you can get from vegan food section, but I prefer to cook my own.

  16. Jack1952

    Great video. Its a positive approach to the problems of the world.

  17. Rick Kiriakidis

    This was incredibly awesome. I love the positivity. Im so sick and tired of documentaries that are nothing but gloom and doom and were all F***ED. Find solutions instead of curling into a ball and crying about the system. Convince people that there are better ways to do things and they will whole heartedly follow you! Education, technology, creativity we have it all at our fingertips, we just need to take the correct paths, the ones that are profitable for EVERYONE.

  18. Paul Gloor

    IMO, urban and suburban areas would benefit a tremendous amount from this kind of thing. If everyone were to plant trees, grow vegetables in their back yards, even front yards, a great deal of problems would be solved. There are some long term problems caused by planting trees in cities like shallow roots heaving and cracking concrete and sidewalks and canopies interfering with overhead utility systems, but i'm sure if you drop a few bucks on a comity of big brains and architects, they could solve every one of those problems as they arise. Viable land space in urban and suburban locals doesn't really get put to anything useful at all.

    1. Jack1952

      I have always been amazed at the time and money people will spend on a manicured lawn and plots of flowers and pretty shrubs. Yet, they wouldn't dream of planting a few vegetables or some fruit trees. I think we would be amazed at how much food could be grown in a suburban landscape using the same effort we put into growing grass and petunias.

    2. Paul Gloor

      My thoughts exactly !

    3. Shauna Evans

      agreed. I have two herb beds, three large raised veggie beds. cant get anyone in the hood to garden. I give away alot of my food to neighbors, shelters, monasteries trying to get the "seed" planted in their minds so we can all trade food, but no go.


      No worries Paul. There's one bit they don't know yet, but it is surfacing now. Clean food. You are growing it. Soon, they will realize where the cancer comes from - then they'll start.

  19. DigiWongaDude

    If you liked "One Man, One Cow, One Planet" be sure to check out this gem of undoing man's damage, and restoring ecology.

    At first I thought this was Kiwi Peter Proctor's method (from above doc) of modern biodynamics (an arcane form of agriculture that was begun early last century), currently being used in India and around the world, but this is a different form of the same...this is permaculture, developed in Australia by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison in the seventies. Fantastic! Inspiring! Hope restoring!

  20. Mercenarry ForHire

    Life will always thrive if left alone, all it needs its a little push from a unique animal that can plan for the future.

  21. Jack Holloway

    this man should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, instead Barack Obama gets it for fueling war.

    1. Paul Gloor

      That's the way the money works. Trees and green stuff don't have value until they're on the back of a truck.

    2. DigiWongaDude

      Shockingly true and utterly dismaying.

    3. Jack1952

      Yet, this video says you can have both. Those people in China now have three times the income and their lives have found greater security in the reclaimed land. Before the reclamation project there was no money to be made there and the people were facing starvation.

    4. Paul Gloor

      You know this, and I know this... but convince the corporations that rape and pillage the land sea and air until its nothing more than a broken shadow of its former beauty and life to back off while the land and sea recovers. That will be an even harder sell than convincing those farmers to plant trees and grass on the good land and reign in their herds. If government is ever required for anything it's for this very cause, but its so infiltrated, corrupt and undermined so as to be unhearing, uncaring and ineffective.

    5. Jack1952

      The land in China, the Middle East and Ethiopia visited in this video were not ravaged by the corporations. They deteriorated over thousands of years due to over grazing and the cutting down of trees by the local people to keep them warm, cook their food and provide shelter. At one time, it made sense. However, as populations grew the land could't support this traditional lifestyle indefinitely with the ever-growing number of humans. These people carried on as best they could but they didn't know any other way to live. This is where the people in this doc came in...that is, to show them a new and better way. In the video, we even seen these poor people question the wisdom of these methods and in China they had to be forced to comply.

      Do not think that I'm not defending the corporations. It is sometimes too easy to have a default answer for some very complex problems. It may be harder to convince those who would stand to benefit the most from these methods to adopt them than one might think. In many ways the people in third world countries still live as if they are few and the world is limitless.

    6. Jack1952

      I have nothing against Obama, but a Nobel Peace Prize? It kind of takes the shine off a prestigious award doesn't it. What did he ever do to promote peace? Even he was embarrassed to get it. This guy is much more deserving.

    7. Trevis Robotie

      absolutely correct!we need less obamas in this world....this guy really lights up my someone said above,it's so easy to be pessimistic with how we run this planet-other occupants of our universe must be seriously mad at us

  22. Luke Flanagan

    Something to be noted in relation to various types of deforestation; when we restore an ecosystem plant and fungi biodiversity will come back. However, the animals won't.

    1. Jurmyhyle

      According the african villagers in the film the animals came back too even the leopard. Not sure how true that may be but just saying.

    2. Paul Gloor

      Animals will distribute around the landscape. If there are any remnants of a species in the locality, they will branch into new territories that will sustain them. The most mobile such as winged creatures, birds and bugs, will flow into an area, followed by predators to take advantage of the new abundance. The key to restoring land animal diversity is to connect the restored habitat to where the animals are currently, or at least reduce the distance they have to travel. Alternatively, manual relocation is an option.

    3. Trevis Robotie

      ...if the animals left and not extint,they will always come back....unfortunately we do them in too.....we need some miracle

  23. Trevis Robotie

    ".....they won't go gently into that midnight"!no sir,they won't! this film is ORO-pure gold,!everyone should see and share it.a million thanks to tdf

  24. Douwe Beerda

    This is such a positive and uplifting story, people all over the world should see this and learn about the permaculture design techniques behind this ecosystem restoration. We can solve and restore deserts and degraded landscapes to fertile and productive ecosystems again if we work with nature. Every government in the world should watch this and make healthy ecosystems their top priority!

  25. ZarathustraSpeaks

    I need to watch this one just to keep from giving up on hope.