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Colorado River

Blood of the Earth: Colorado River is a documentary that follows the Colorado River from its source to its delta.  It is the story of a river that serves the most rapidly growing population in the United States yet is so heavily used that it often does not make it to the ocean.

The film covers the issues of water rights, water diversions, mining, and dams, and their impact on humans and river ecosystems.  It presents the viewpoints of farmers, the river’s managers and native people.

Blood of the Earth is a production of the Tibetan Ecology Foundation with the mission of teaching basic environmental principals to Tibetans and others with ties to Tibet. Tibetan ecology is crucial to the well-being of all Asians, since the seven largest river systems on that continent originate in Tibet. The Colorado River can teach many important lessons for the Tibetan people, since it has been, for more than 100 years, the most extensively managed river system in the world.

Blood of the Earth was filmed in English but is currently being dubbed into the Tibetan language by professionals in Tibet.  The version that is distributed in Tibet will have English and Tibetan language tracks plus English, Tibetan, and Chinese subtitles.

The challenge

The people of the Tibetan Plateau have a unique responsibility.

Tibetans live in a pristine landscape, largely untouched by the development and industrialization, but times are changing. The choices they make at this moment in time will have major impact.  As investors look to the natural resources of Tibet, we will see rivers dammed, mountains mined, and factories take deeper root.

Tibetans would be wise to consider the benefits and the dangers involved in these activities.  As the story of utilization of natural resources has already played out in so many countries and so many regions around the world, Tibetans have only to look to their neighbors for the lessons they need.

Water is among the Tibetan Plateau’s greatest responsibilities.  The river sources for seven of Asia’s greatest rivers- the Yangstze, Yellow, Mekong, Salween, Indus, Nyang, and Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo) Rivers- are located here.  China, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, part of Pakistan and part of India, and Bangladesh, all receive their fresh water from a river system based in the Tibetan Plateau.


The Tibetan Ecology Foundation does not reject modernization or globalization.  The future will arrive, whether we support it or fight it.

There is a Chinese education slogan, “百年大计,教育为本” ”Education is fundamental to the great hundred year plan”  Whether or not you agree with Chinese Communism, you must admit these words are true.  Education is the key to behavior; therefore education will chart the path of history.

Twenty-three years ago, in 1985, television came to Tibet.  From television, we learned how to change our dress, we learned how to eat new species (like crustaceans – sea insects), and from Hollywood, it seems people learn how to be violent.  Through this medium, we can also learn how to protect our environment.

The Tibetan Ecology Foundation proposes to produce a documentary movie about the Colorado River.  The movie would be made in both the Tibetan and the Chinese language, for distribution and viewing among the Tibetan and Chinese people, all of whom share a responsibility for the Tibetan Plateau.  The Blood of the Earth-Colorado River will discuss river management, utilization, and conservation in the American Southwest.  For Tibetans, the story of the Colorado River will help them to prophesize the future story of their own rivers.  And with a glimpse into their future, perhaps the people of the Tibetan Plateau will have the tools to fulfill their responsibility to best care for their rivers.

Producer, Director, Photographer and Editor
Tsultrim Gyatso
a.k.a. Zhimu Ci

Post Production Assistant
Laura Kreski

Gene R. Reetz PhD

Tibetan Translator
Dondrup Gya

Tibetan Proofreader

Photos of Mexico
Mark Lellouch,
Sonoran Institute 

D.L. ‘Raven’ Valdes
Adrian Wall

Nikki Bailey
Kevin A. Brownlee
James A Kinney
D.L. Raven’ Valdes
Adrian Wall


Daniel Beley
Environmental Data Unit Manager, Water Quality Control Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Grant Buma
Hydrologist Engineer, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Arizona

Rita L. Crumpton
Manager, Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, Grand Junction, Colorado

William I. DuBois
Retired Farmer, Imperial Valley, California

Jacob Fillion
Environmental Education Branch Chief, Grand Canyon National Park

Larry A. Gilbert
Farmer, Imperial Valley, California

Wendy Hanophy
Education Specialist, Colorado Division of Wildlife

Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr.
Justice, Supreme Court, State of Colorado

John C. Hranac
Surface Water Specialist, Water Quality Control Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

James Lamont
Executive Director, Vail Homeowners Association, Colorado

Carol T. Linnig
Park Ranger, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado River District

Daniel F. Luecke Ph.D.
Water Resources and Environmental Consulting

Jennifer Pitt
Senior Resource Analyst, Environmental Defense Fund

Jim Pokrandt
Communication & Education, Colorado River District, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Kenneth G. Poocha
Executive Director, Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs

Gene R. Reetz Ph.D
Former Water Specialist, Environment Protection Agency

Bradley H. Udall
Director, Colorado University-NOAA Western Water Assessment Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Mark Uppendahl
Instream Flow Program Coordinator, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Department of Natural Resource

Thank you to:

Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs
California Farm Bureau Federation
Colorado Division of Wildlife
Colorado Foundation for Water Education
Colorado River District, Glenwood Springs
Colorado River Indian Tribes
Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
Orchard Mesa Irrigation District
The Rainbow Man
Sonoran Institute
Rocky Mountain National Park
Vail Homeowners Association

Steve Birdsall
Jeremy Kendall
George Sanchez
Karen Sedillo

Thank you to the sponsors
Tibetan Ecology Foundation
Tibet International Concil, Inc

“Protecting the planet, one conscience at a time”