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Environmental Justice Reel Camp for Girls #2 June 28-July 3, 2021

filmmaking mentors





Bloom into art as resistance - EJ#2 day one

The first day of the second Environmental Justice Reel Camp started off with the usual introductions and a bit of a switch-up in our prompt. We usually say our name, pronouns, and one piece of media we’ve liked recently. This time we shared the reason we find ourselves in this space and at this camp.

For a few of us who are a part of the staff, we had memories of being affiliated with and working for HWF for a while now, as well as the years we have known and loved Vera as friend and chosen kin this whole time we’ve been doing this work. We shared how we are here because we believe in the work, we love being inspired, and being creatives involved with a program dedicated to creation is the best thing in the world. Other folks shared how the need for environmental justice, educating people on its importance, and storytelling as a form of activism and education is a big reason they are in the space. The one reason we all agreed on, however, is that we all find something powerful in a medium like film and we are here to explore just how much can be said with a camera. A mic. A storyboard. We are in this space to take the knowledge we acquire this week and watch it bloom into art as resistance.


After community agreements and settling on basic tenets for how we’ll conduct ourselves in the space and towards each other, we go into Lauren’s presentation on EJ. Lauren guides us brilliantly through the work that Sierra Club Hawaiʻi does as an organization in regards to environmental justice versus environmentalism and the importance difference between the two. She also walks us through not only larger environmental issues that people pay attention to globally but also local, more concentrated issues that directly impact the people of ka pae ʻāina, especially Kānaka Maoli.


After this presentation, the participants did some hands-on camera work and learned about how to safely and efficiently handle the equipment when in the space.


The day ended with a creative exercise by Lauren called Tree of Life in which participants created a genealogy of sorts about their lives and what enables them to be who they are in the world today.


Excited to see what this camp brings us.

Things are going swimmingly - EJ#2 day two

Day two had us starting off with a reflection on the Tree of Life exercise from the previous day.

As we sat around the table, participants and mentors shared their feelings about the exercise, what parts felt easier to fill out, what parts were the hardest, and overall what the exercise made them think a little more about. The beauty of exercises like these and the practice of sharing them with each other is that we get to learn a bit more about who we are building community with and what stories they are bringing with them to this work we’re doing together. It all means something at the end of the day and it all informs how we move about in the world, even if we are only catching glimpses of it in occasional exercises like Tree of Life.


Afterward, Lauren lead us once again into a presentation on EJ and local initiatives that are focused on EJ efforts directly in Hawaiʻi. She reminded us once again of the importance of recognizing that capitalism= extractive and destructive ways of living whereas decolonization and Indigenous ways of living= abundant and growth centered ways of living: that Indigenous ways of relating to the earth enable us to see it as a relative that we live in concert with as opposed to something that should be conquered and taken from.