Jimmy Nelson at the World Economic Forum

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 14, 2020 - The World Economic Forum, which will be held in Davos this month, will be manifested around the theme “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”. It will bring together 3,000 decision-makers, philanthropists and corporate activists from around the world, and aim to assist governments and international institutions in tracking progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Jimmy Nelson will be presenting the first-ever Blink Test, an eye locked film showcasing a portraiture of the world’s last indigenous people. The ultimate aim is to provoke thought and spark conversation on the importance of safeguarding indigenous cultures in order to manifest a cohesive and sustainable future.

Artist Jimmy Nelson is sending a warning that the world is at risk of losing its global cultural heritage as their family trees, rivers, forests and habitats are destroyed in the quest for human progress. The artist brings out a bid to preserve cultural diversity by issuing the caution: ‘BLINK. AND THEY’RE GONE’. A unique AR-Human interface challenges the viewer not to blink. If you blink, the film stops playing. A warning that if we don’t engage with indigenous cultures now, they will be gone forever and so will the world’s cultural diversity.

Our world is changing rapidly. Our ever-growing population and urge for bigger economies have led to both positive and negative developments, such as improved technology and industrialisation, globalisation, consumerism and global warming. Due to technological advances, it feels like we are accelerating into the future faster than ever before, but every day it becomes clearer that we are damaging our planet.

Indigenous peoples represent less than 5% of the global population, however, they manage 25% of the world’s surface and are ultimately responsible for 80% of the global diversity left in the world.

The forests under their stewardship store more than a quarter of all the world’s above ground tropical carbon. From tropical forests in Asia and Latin America, through to the Arctic tundra or cloud forests of the Pacific Northwest and Patagonia environments that acts as the planet’s vital organs, its lungs, its heart, its kidneys, its liver and for many of us its very soul have been protected by indigenous people the world over for thousands of years.

As we enter the decade of delivery, and all other global goals become contextualised by increased extreme weather events, natural disasters and an increasingly fragile ecosystem, piling more and more pressure on urban centers we believe it is only logical that those with the most experience of living in harmony with the natural environment have the most to teach us and the most to contribute.

“The time is now to acknowledge and celebrate the world last Indigenous communities as our new role models. They are the living example of how humans can live in perfect harmony with themselves, their unique cultures and the natural world.” - Artist Jimmy Nelson

Indigenous peoples are the ones who best protect nature because it is their work tool. In the heart of the tropical forests, it is in the areas populated by hunter-gatherer communities that we can find the most biodiverse areas. In the remotest deserts communities have learned to live with resources at their most minimum. In the coastal areas, from the Central American Kuna to the Pacific Maori, traditional fishing methods preserve corals, mangroves and other unique ecosystems that are the most effective barrier to rising sea levels.

Indigenous are ready to share their traditional knowledge, and to (re)teach humankind how to live in harmony with nature. But for this, it is imperative that all major polluters in the world respect their commitment, made in Paris in 2015, to do everything to limit global warming to below 1,5 degrees Celcius.

By attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Jimmy Nelson will convey the importance of protecting what’s left of the last pristine nature and the connection of human beings living in harmony and respect for the natural world and each other.

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