Climate Film Short–“The Return”, Queensland Indigenous Women Rangers, 2022 EarthShot Prize Live from Boston!

by | Dec 1, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Climate film short, “The Return”, plus the Queensland Indigenous Women Rangers, and 2022 Earthshot Prize live from Boston!



The Return: the story of one family’s retreat into the Amazon forest to escape COVID. It’s a new film that charts the journey of the Kichwa people deeper into the Ecuadorian Amazon and the lessons they drew from reconnecting with nature. While millions of people around the world have been forced into lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis, a family in the Ecuadorian Amazon has opted to move deeper into the relative safety of the jungle. As they reconnect with dormant ancestral knowledge, away from the distractions of modern life, their affinity with nature begins to flourish. As news spreads that Ecuador might lift lockdown soon, will the family stay?

The Return is directed by the indigenous film-maker Eriberto Gualinga and co-produced by his niece and environmental defender Nina Gualinga, both from Sarayaku, alongside British film-maker Marc Silver. The Kichwa community, of whom Gualinga is a member, has gained international acclaim for its environmental activism, most notably for winning a case against the Ecuadorian government at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in 2012 for not respecting the right to life, safety and land. This is not mentioned in the film.

This film is about March 2020, when COVID attacked the Kichwa after severe flooding destroyed most of their communities. As a group, they retreated into the woods. Said Gualinga in an interview with The Guardian, “I wanted the world to also return to the forest. The forest is important. That is where life is. It is the lungs of the world. I imagined people isolating in the city in the pandemic – being stuck in four walls alone in a house – and all the problems that can bring.”

Why does “The Return” matter to us? It highlights how isolating in the forest is completely different. It’s freedom, fishing, collecting fruit, long walks, sharing knowledge with parents, collecting medicinal plants … It’s about how important the forest is for the world and why we should reconnect with forests and Nature.

DEEPER DIVE: The Guardian, The Return, Living Forest Proposal



Faced by a warming planet, the Great Barrier Reef, lying in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, is under constant threat. On land, meanwhile, flora and fauna are ravaged by increasingly regular bushfires. The region’s indigenous rangers are vital to its defense. Their work brings together ancient knowledge, passed down from generation to generation, with most modern tools, like drones that monitor coral changes, forest fires and land degradation.

Yet in Queensland only 20% of indigenous rangers, are women. That’s where the Queensland Indigenous Women Rangers Network comes in. Over the past four years, the network has helped build the next generation of women rangers. The program has trained over 60 women, encouraging new conservation approaches by sharing knowledge and telling stories. Members of the network have gone on to find work as rangers in Queensland or in conservation elsewhere.

Their work is vital. The data they have collected has given us critical insight into one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. As custodians of the land, the rangers have also protected sites of great cultural and spiritual significance. With greater support, indigenous women rangers could span the planet, helping to repair ecosystems from Hawaii to Nepal and Tanzania. The Queensland Indigenous Women Rangers are a 2022 EarthShot Prize Finalist. Good luck! 

DEEPER DIVE: QWIR, EarthShot Prize



Inspired by the stunning achievement of America’s Moonshot project, initiated by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and completed in 1969, Prince William established The Earthshot Prize two years ago to uncover and scale the innovative solutions that will repair our planet within the next ten years. 

All week we’ve been featuring 2022 Earthshot Prize finalists. Well, tomorrow, December 2nd, the second annual Earthshot Prizes will be awarded at the MGM Music Hall in Boston, MA. From a shortlist of fifteen finalists, five winners will be announced – one for each Earthshot category:

Protect & Restore Nature

Clean Our Air

Revive Our Oceans

Build a Waste-Free World

Fix Our Climate

Each winner, chosen by the Prize Council as promoting the most innovative solutions to the environmental challenges facing the planet, will receive £1million prize money (about 1.2 million USD) and access to a global support network to scale their work.

Want to watch? If you are in the UK, you can watch the Awards on Sunday, December 4th at 5:30pm GMT on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. If you’re in the USA, you can watch the Awards online at and on the PBS app from 2:00pm ET and on the PBS YouTube channel from 8:00pm ET. PBS will also broadcast the event on Wednesday, December 14th, check local listings for timings. If you are anywhere else in the world, you can watch the Awards on the Earthshot Prize’s YouTube channel from Sunday, December 4th at 6.00pm GMT.