Distributor:  Global Environmental Justice
Length:  4 minutes
Date:  2019
Genre:  Expository
Language:  Portuguese / English subtitles
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available


Curator imageLaura Miller, Applied ethicist and instructor, Southwestern Illinois College, St. Louis Community College, Fontbonne University, and Webster University

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A Tribute to Dona Dijé

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* New title added January 2023 *

If Not Us Then Who?  Film 7 of 7

A leader of the Babassu movement reflects on the central place of the babassu industry in the protection of women, culture, the forests, and the Amazon as a whole.

A Tribute to Dona Dijé

If Not Us Then Who? Film 7: (4:10) 2019
A Tribute to Dona Dijé a leader of the Free Babassu movement

This is one of seven short films about sustainable living in the forests of Indonesia, Costa Rica and Brazil. Taken together, they tell a story of oppression, resistance, accomplishments, and confidence for the future.

Please download the teacher's guide for maps, background information, suggested subjects, questions and activities.

"Do not fall, arise."

Dona Dijé was an organizer in the babassu movement. In this interview she reflects on the central place of the babassu industry in the protection of women, culture, the forests, and the Amazon as a whole.

This is one of seven short films about sustainable living in the forests of Indonesia, Costa Rica and Brazil. Taken together, they tell a story of oppression, resistance, accomplishments, and confidence for the future.

Other titles in the If Not Us Then Who? Collection:

Download the Teacher's Guide


00:00:07.140 --> 00:00:13.560
I live in a community in the state
of Maranhão, in the countryside.

00:00:16.760 --> 00:00:20.740
To me, it means part of my story.

00:00:26.860 --> 00:00:31.100
It should be free, wherever
there is babassu it should be free.

00:00:32.160 --> 00:00:37.000
Because we understand that
babassu is a work of nature.

00:00:38.360 --> 00:00:43.520
Nobody planted, no one watered
yet nature gives to us for free.

00:00:52.040 --> 00:01:03.100
The coconut for me means a currency
which we exchange so we can buy

00:01:03.220 --> 00:01:08.640
our things, from food to clothes, shoes,

00:01:13.140 --> 00:01:18.820
We roast the coconut to make oil.

00:01:19.580 --> 00:01:22.060
We sell to get money.

00:01:23.700 --> 00:01:33.940
And the oil once it's done serves for
both food, cooking and cosmetics.

00:01:44.260 --> 00:01:52.040
Now they are trapped on land
which is privately owned

00:01:53.300 --> 00:02:00.700
and the land owner, the farmer has a fence,
a gate and a lock barring my entry.

00:02:04.680 --> 00:02:08.120
We don’t want to fill the
outskirts of the cities.

00:02:08.975 --> 00:02:11.755
We don't want to change
our way of life.

00:02:14.220 --> 00:02:16.660
This is the law of survival.

00:02:16.660 --> 00:02:21.140
I have to fight to live.
I have to fight to eat.

00:02:22.520 --> 00:02:31.940
The women formed their own movement founding the
‘Free Babassu Law’ in seven Brazilian states.
The law gives landless coconut gatherers rights
to collect from all palm groves.

00:02:33.380 --> 00:02:38.460
They continue to protect the lives
and livelihoods of thousands of women
who work in the countryside

00:02:39.600 --> 00:02:45.820
The free coconut is where I can come
and go without anyone to stop me.

00:02:46.560 --> 00:02:52.100
I can leave my house, go into the land
which is close to my community.

00:02:52.100 --> 00:02:57.160
If there is babassu, I can come and pick it up
and another woman can come and pick it up.

00:02:57.160 --> 00:03:02.420
Any woman can come and pick it up
without hindrance.

00:03:02.420 --> 00:03:05.420
This is free access.

00:03:10.800 --> 00:03:15.380
They would enter the communities
and ask 'Where's the boss?’

00:03:16.660 --> 00:03:19.500
And we'd say, "There is no 'boss'...
I'm the boss."

00:03:23.480 --> 00:03:37.800
I have a hope that if we can preserve what we have left today then our children will have a bright future.

00:03:40.800 --> 00:03:46.160
It's a community of people
who work in the fields breaking coconuts

00:03:46.160 --> 00:03:51.160
fishing, dancing, leaping,
who play and are doing a lot of things.

00:03:51.200 --> 00:03:57.120
And that preserves our ancestors,
which we believe is a force

00:03:57.120 --> 00:04:01.440
that helps us
and holds our hands to say:

00:04:01.520 --> 00:04:04.640
"Do not fall. Arise. “


If Not Us Then Who?
Reviews by Isadora Lambert for Video Librarian 21 April 2023

The seven short films collected in If Not Us Then Who? chronicle sustainable practices in the forests of Indonesia, Costa Rica, and Brazil. While many environmental documentaries focus on the devastation humankind inflicts upon the world, these seven films demonstrate resilience and hope for the future.

Part One: Indonesia

Sungai Utik: The fight for recognition (21 min)

The first film in “If Not Us Then Who?” is Sungai Utik: The fight for recognition. At 21 minutes, this is the longest film in the collection. Sungai Utik profiles a Dayak community that follows sustainable practices passed down by their ancestors to protect forest lands. While outsiders see the financial gain in exploiting the forest’s resources, the Sungai Utik take only the resources they need and repay the earth for what they take by planting new trees. The film follows their quest to receive legal protection and fair treatment from the government.

Building a Longhouse as a Cultural Center (12 min)

The second film in the collection follows the Sungai Utik people as they build a traditional longhouse for the first time in fifty years. This building acts a cultural center where the community can gather, attend school, make food, and live together. The indigenous filmmaker of Building a Longhouse as a Cultural Center emphasizes the community effort that makes this construction possible and pays particular attention to the elders in the community.

The Dyak Iban Way of Farming (13 min)

This documentary short discusses traditional Dayak Iban farming methods. Their process involves rotating farmlands and utilizing carefully controlled burning. Although this is a traditional technique, the government has deemed controlled burning illegal due to pollution and forest fires. However, the true environmental damage is caused by massive palm oil plantations. The Dyak Iban Way of Farming demonstrates the cultural and ecological value of maintaining traditional practices.

Homecoming: Indigenous youth return to the land (8 min)

Homecoming: Indigenous youth return to the land focuses on Indigenous youth and how crucial this generation is to environmental activism. While many youths choose to leave their communities to study and work in cities, this documentary examines those who choose to return in order to help their communities by integrating tradition with sustainable planning.

Part Two: Costa Rica/ Brazil

A Sustainable Solution: Environmental tax to maintain forests in Costa Rica (7 min)

This documentary short highlights the impact Indigenous people have made in reducing logging in Costa Rica. A government program called Payment for Environmental Services supports sustainable practices and motivates communities. A Sustainable Solution proves that government intervention can have a positive impact on the environment.

Brazil's Warrior Women: Women’s movement wins access to babassu oil (8 min)

In Brazil, 400,000 women harvest nuts from the babassu palm in order to maintain a living. However, some ranchers and farmers pose a threat to these women, threatening to physically ban the women from the fields. Brazil's Warrior Women follows the passing of a law that allows these women to remain in the fields and provide for their families.


A Tribute to Dona Dije, Babassu Woman Warrior: An interview with the leader of the babassu movement (4 min)

A Tribute to Dona Dijé, Babassu Woman Warrior pays special tribute to Dona Dijé, a central organizer of the Babassu movement. In this interview, she reflects on how the movement has impacted both the protection of women as well as the Amazon.

These seven documentary films are unique in their emphasis on how Indigenous communities influence environmental conservation. “If Not Us Then Who?” champions perspectives that are often not shown on screen. These inspiring stories would be welcome in both high school and college classrooms.

What academic subjects would this film be suitable for?

This film would be suitable for students and library patrons interested in environmental studies, public policy, political science, and global studies.

How does this film contribute to a discussion of environmental or climate justice, and/or to environmental literacy? 

If Not Us Then Who? contributes to discussions of climate justice by demonstrating solutions for environmental issues, and prioritizing indigenous voices.

What type of library programming could use this title?

These short films would be perfect for library programming events focused on sustainable solutions for the future.


Main credits

Redman, Paul (film director)
Redman, Paul (director of photography)
Redman, Paul (editor of moving image work)
Lewis, Tim (film producer)
Dijé, Dona (on-screen participant)

Distributor credits

Tim Lewis

Paul Redman

Docuseek subjects

Citizenship, Social Movements and Activism
Rural Studies
Women's Studies
Women's History
Latin American History
Latin American Studies
Cultural Anthropology
Environmental Anthropology
Government Policy
Forests and Rainforests
Conflict Resolution

Distributor subjects

No distributor subjects provided.


Dona Dijé,babassu,Free Babassu Movement,Amazon,rainforest,organizing,babassu nut,babassu palm,palm oil,Afro-Brazilian,community activist,Pastoral Land Commission,Catholic Church,agrarian,agrarian reform,babassu palm tree,Brazil; "A Tribute to Dona Dije"; Citizenship,Social Movements,Activism; Rural Studies; Agribusiness; Women's Studies; Women's History; Latin American History; Latin American Studies; Cultural Anthropology; Environmental Anthropology; Government Policy; Forests and Rainforests; Conflict Resolution;

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