About project

KEEPERS is a photographic exploration of a diverse network of people protecting nature across Europe. This book documents the tireless efforts made by activists and volunteers to undo the damage done to Europe’s precious ecosystems by irresponsible human activity. From the fjords of Norway to the mountains of Bulgaria, their work to preserve biodiversity and reverse its devastating loss is captured in stunning photographs that illustrate the stories of these inspiring people – who truly are nature’s keepers.

The loss of our planet’s biodiversity is happening at an extraordinary speed and should be of urgent concern to us all. The collection of stories in this book shows how we as humans are inextricably embedded in our living world. We are completely dependent upon the nature that surrounds us for all the necessities of life, and the people whose stories are told here work tirelessly to protect it. The continued existence of vital species of flora and fauna cannot be taken for granted. We have seen from countless examples how quickly our biodiversity is disappearing, and that the rate of loss is accelerating due to damaging human activities.
Around the world, people are more and more threatened by this. Vulnerable groups on our planet are in danger of losing their ability to sustain themselves as the unique ecosystems they rely on are eroded and disappear. Meanwhile, there is a growing understanding of the complicity of our economic system in the devastation of nature. The remorseless logic of endless growth on a finite planet has wreaked havoc on the natural world, and in doing so is putting communities and indigenous people in ever more precarious positions.
Many groups in Friends of the Earth’s European network are working directly to protect nature, as well as on the factors that are driving this biodiversity loss in the first place. Irresponsible development, harmful agricultural practices, energy production and the commodification of nature all threaten fragile ecosystems on our continent. The diverse network of volunteers and activists fighting these dangers and standing up to protect biodiversity is both inspiring and an unfortunate necessity. They are our nature’s keepers. KEEPERS excellently displays both the unique natural wonders that we are in danger of losing and the dedicated work of those seeking to turn the tide.

MAGDA STOCZKIEWICZ- Director, Friends of the Earth Europe

In Europe, it seems that we have lost our link with nature. For children growing up in cities, nature is something distant, and perhaps even frightening. The paradigm that humans are separate from an external nature has come to underpin many of our ways of thinking and living, and leads to the biodiversity loss we now see through the degradation and destruction of habitats and the resulting species decline. By contrast, many communities, in particular indigenous communities, around the world still live in harmony with nature and see humans as part of it. This way of life is threatened and lost on a daily basis as a direct consequence of the economic and political system that demands growth beyond the Earth’s capacity. Nature is not external to the socio-economic system; the socio-economic system should instead operate within, and sustain, the Earth’s ecosystem.
Friends of the Earth International is working around the globe to protect biodiversity and support local communities living sustainable lives in harmony with nature.
Not only do we need to support them, but we must also change our own relationship with nature. KEEPERS presents stories of people around Europe, young and old, women and men, who dedicate their lives to protecting and restoring habitats and biodiversity. Their stories show us why and how they do it. They fight damaging projects, they revive destroyed habitats and teach new generations to preserve nature. The future will show us that these nature’s keepers are true visionaries, keeping the treasure of Europe for future generations. Their stories tell us how we can live our lives with passion, purpose and modesty in harmony with other people and nature.
It is a story of true friends of the Earth, a story that shows how we can live our lives better and how, together, we can build sustainable societies.

JAGODA MUNIĆ – Chairperson, Friends of the Earth International

A picturesque isolated village in middle of a Norwegian fjord where artists and fisherman live together in harmony is something that is close to my vision of utopia. When I came to Vevring and saw its beauty, I could hardly comprehend that someone would mine there and ruin the fjord that sustains these communities.
There are so many moments, it’s hard to say which among them inspired me the most when making the book and exhibition. Maybe it depends on the time I spent with people. Sometimes it was just an afternoon walk. In some cases, like Vevring, I had the opportunity to live with a whole family for a week. More time spent with a person gives you more time to learn, but also gives you more time to reflect on their story.
I heard so many personal stories that range from protecting rare species to defending local resources that whole communities depend upon. Each story could easily become a book all of its own, this was an attempt to highlight and celebrate as many of them as possible.
This project started on Malta with Carmen, who for years has collected native seeds and now runs her own seed bank and plant nursery. In a way, this was the seed for my journey and this book and exhibition. It has also been my personal journey, and would be wrong to say that some of these stories didn’t leave a mark on me as activist and artist.
The name ‘KEEPERS’ symbolises all local environmental defenders and those who dedicate big parts of their lives trying to keep and protect some species or communities.
It’s not just people in the book that I consider keepers. Keepers of the environment and defenders of human rights are all around us. Some work in desperate situations, against overwhelming odds and powerful enemies.
And it’s not only about nature, what is at stake are local resources that whole communities depend on, traditional knowledge, culture and connections between a community and the place they live.
I feel privileged and honoured that I was able to tell you the KEEPERS story. I find visual storytelling a powerful and important communication tool. There are so many more stories to tell, stories that would expose those who are causing the problem, stories of those people who get most affected by them, but also those stories that celebrate people who stand on the front line and dedicate their lives to promoting solutions for the transformation of our societies.
I hope that you will draw the same inspiration from these people and their efforts as I have.

LUKA TOMAC – Author, Friends of the Earth Croatia

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!