Aid ProjectsCommercial Farm ProjectsCommunity ProjectsDemonstration SitesUrban Projects

Calling for Before/After Site Photographs for Important John D. Liu Documentary

Many of you know of the excellent work of the filmmaker, John D. Liu. Amongst other projects, John documented, over many years, the amazing transformation of China’s massive Loess Plateau from being a significantly degraded, and dangerous land (the vegetation-free landscape made for seriously destructive — even deadly — floods and soil erosion) to the much-improved state it’s in today (see here and here). John has also been turning his visionary eye to Africa and beyond…. For a little background on John and his work, this interview will help.

Well, John is now working on an important new documentary that will showcase the importance and potential of investing in natural capital and working with natural laws to restore invaluable ecosystem services — and at very large scale, as is needed at this historical juncture! Part of this documentary will be devoted to the work of Geoff and Nadia Lawton in Jordan, covering projects — and aspirations for their rollout on a larger scale — there.

John and Geoff are working together in Jordan right now to complete this aspect.

The documentary should be completed before the end of April. It will be freely distributed, shown on national public service television stations and also presented to some of the world’s most influential people. As an example, it will be shown at the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development that runs between June 20-22, attended by "world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups" with the purpose being to "reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want."

This is a tremendous opportunity to present tangible solutions — in an inspiring, engaging way — to those who have the means and influence to help us ramp up the speed of permaculture uptake, education and reskilling that is so desperately needed.

It’s important to keep in mind that whilst permaculturists avoid a reductionist viewpoint when looking at world and environmental problems, far too many people in wider society and in government and NGO bodies have these issues segregated into isolation — they’re unable to see the interconnectness between problems, and so are unable to strategise holistically to create win-win-win outcomes.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, John is asking me to put a call out to people worldwide who can contribute impressive before/after photographs from taking degraded lands and turning them into something quite otherwise! There are permaculturists worldwide who have been doing great work on this front, and now we have opportunity to leverage this work by making it universally known.

Ideally photographs will be of larger scaled transformations (i.e. broadacre), which will be most suitable for this particular film project, but I would personally also be keen to take the opportunity to request excellent before/after shots of smaller sites also — as I would post them on this site for inspiration as well.

So, please send your transformative before/after photographs to editor (at), along with the following information:

  • Date each photograph was taken
  • Location
  • Name and email address of key person involved in the transformation
  • Name of photographer

Important notes on sending:

  1. JPEG please, at the best resolution you have available.
  2. Please ensure these are true ‘before/after’ shots — i.e. shots that show a big change between two dates, taken from the same perspective.
  3. Limit the quantity! Normally you would send only two shots of each site (one before, one after), but if you feel the need to send more, please be very critical, and send only those that best demonstrate the restoration of degraded land, and, again, only send photographs where the before and after shots were taken from the same perspective.

Thanks in advance to you all!


  1. There are very good panoramas of our place before and after here:

    We are in Cooran, Qld, Australia.

    The first shot would have been taken around 2002, the last one in October 2008. There is a lot more growth now, but if I attempted to take another photo from the same position, there’d be just trees in the foreground and nothing to see!!

    I took the photos myself…. hope that’s helpful?


  2. Does anyone have a link to the site that compiled these photos?

    I remember seeing this website where these photos were first put together. It was a great resource and I hoped to pull photos from it for an upcoming Intro to Permaculture course I am co-teaching. Now I can’t seem to find it. Any help appreciated, Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Back to top button