Protecting Paradise

Can you imagine a mountain just 26 miles from the Caribbean coast that rises to a snow-capped peak 19,000 feet in the air? Imagine this mountain as the source of 36 major rivers and a place where every climate zone in the tropical Americas can be found. And now, add to this amazing ecosystem four tribes of indigenous peoples, more than a million city-dwellers, and over one hundred thousand small farmers. What do you have? The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta , the world's highest coastal peak, on Colombia 's Caribbean coast.

In 1979, UNESCO declared the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta a Biosphere Reserve. Colombia has also designated two national parks and three indigenous reservations on the 4.2 million acres of the Sierra Nevada . Despite these protective measures, the impact of 21 st -century life is threatening the animals, habitats, and cultural heritage of the native guardians of this mountain. What can be done?

Learn how the complex structure of indigenous society and the code of rules that keeps their life in harmony with nature may be able to stop the destructive influence of drug-traffickers, guerrillas, the military, and unscrupulous businesses. Perhaps the unique heritage of the Santa Marta Biosphere will be able to preserve this global treasure for generations to come.

Length: 120 minutes
Shot with HDW F900 CineAlta Sony 24p