Herders - Guardians of the Earth

Culture & Art, Destinations, Mission Earth 5 x 26' 2020 HD

Their lifestyle is considered ancient, but pastoralist people contribute in many ways to the preservation of ecosystems and to food security worldwide. Their way of life is one of the oldest we know of, yet from an ecological aspect it points towards the future.

In a five-part documentary series, Mark Michel and his team visit five pastoral communities around the world. Whether in Brandenburg in Germany, in the high mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the dry savannahs of Uganda, in the semi-deserts of Rajasthan or at an altitude of 5000 meters in the high Andes of Peru, everywhere the weather and the seasons determine the everyday life of the herders and their livestock. It is a life full of hardships. With their sheep, goats, yaks, alpacas, cattle, horses and camels they move through barren landscapes full of rough beauty, always in search of pasture land and water and in direct contact with nature. In doing so, they protect the environment and make productive use of the land by transforming even the driest plant fibers into meat and milk with their animals, thus feeding millions of people. Their ingenious techniques and strategies have been developed and tested over centuries and preserve nature instead of destroying it.

Today, scientists all over the world are discovering the enormous value of 'pastoral life' on our planet. Together with the shepherds, they are looking for new ways to preserve this lifestyle and to use the pastoral’s knowledge for a better agricultural future that benefits everyone.

The documentary series "Guardians of the Earth" pays homage to the herders' sustainable way of life.

1. A Sheperd in Eastern Germany
2. Kyrgyzstan's Pastoralists On The Move
3. Cowherds of the Savannah
4. The Camel Herders of Rajasthan
5. Living with Alpacas in the Peruvian Andes

Produced by

Neue Celluloid Fabrik


English, German, French


SWR, arte

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