Canopy Watch wishes to congratulate DW for 'The Voice of the Forest' and pay our respects to Mundiya Kepanga for his ability to think and communicate between traditional knowledge and the conflicting complex narratives of development.
The rainforests of Papua New Guinea are under threat from deforestation. One man hoping to save these vast jungles is Chief Mundiya Kepanga of the Huli tribe. Mundiya Kepanga, the leader of Papua New Guinea's Huli tribe, says the trees in the rainforest watch over him like big brothers. He discusses nature and the jungle in a poetic, humorous and philosophical way. Our documentary 'Mundiya Kepanga - The Voice of the Forest' accompanies the tribal chief on his journeys around the world to save his brothers, the trees. Like a real child of the rainforest, Mundiya Kepanga, chief of Papua New Guinea’s Huli tribe, was born on a carpet of foliage from a centuries-old fig tree. In the tradition of the storytellers of old, he talks in the first person about his life and the state of the primeval jungle, which he regards as the Earth's ecological sanctuary. Sensitively and poetically, he describes his close relationship with his green home and at the same time reveals the devastating scale of the deforestation, which has accelerated dramatically in recent years. Mundiya Kepanga passes on the prophesies of his ancestors to elucidate the current state of the rainforest and the dramatic consequences of its destruction. His activities as an environmental ambassador takes him from his remote place in the highlands of Papua New Guinea to big international events such as a session in the French Senate, a colloquium at the World Climate Conference and a meeting with actor and activist Robert Redford. The chief also visits schools and forestry workers in southwestern France and represents indigenous peoples exchanges in discussions with ecologists. His reports set out to look behind the alarming statistics and reassess the state of the environment and its importance to human survival. The rainforest generates the air we need to breathe, he says. It is a common heritage of humanity that must be preserved at all costs.