Defend the Sacred

In August 2017, 2018 and 2019 we hosted activists, movement leaders, Indigenous elders and youth from around 50 countries, all with experience in sacred activism, inspired by the movement of “water protectors” sparked by Standing Rock. Key parts of our gatherings included aerial art actions on the Odeceixe (2017) and Cova do Vapor (2018) beaches displaying messages to stop plans for offshore oil drilling in Portugal – a campaign that proved successful. The gatherings have led to the emergence of the Defend the Sacred Alliance, in which activists support each other, join in both action and prayer and collaborate towards system change.


Edited by The Grace Foundation, “Defend the Sacred: If Life Wins There Will Be No Losers” (Verlag Meiga, 2019) features the work and vision of around 30 activists of the emerging alliance: people from around the world who, despite everything, don’t give up.

They build autonomous communities, create livelihoods for whole regions, fight against the destruction of forests and the construction of dams, work for the restoration of natural cycles, green deserts and make soil fertile again. They turn slums into ecological neighborhoods, create new school systems, refuse to believe in the concept of hostility, develop global peace strategies and build social systems for the healing of love. Their contributions testify to a power which is in the hearts of all people. With this book, we want to awaken and strengthen this power in more and more people around the world.

Learn more and order your copy…

Gathering 2019

The August 2019 gathering consisted of several interconnected parts: a first week of meeting between approx. 40 long-term cooperation partners for intercultural exchange, trust-building, reconciliation and vision work, a 3-day conference with approx. 300 participants and a seminar with approx. 80 participants in which included us joining an aerial art action against planned lithium mining in Serra da Estrela. Watch keynote panels, updates & slides from the conference…

Gathering 2018

In August 2018, we hosted more than 80 activists from around the world. Read Leila Dregger’s report

Follow the story of the gathering through the slideshow, by clicking the image.

On August 4, we brought together 800 people for an aerial art action at Cova do Vapor beach near Lisbon to stop plans for oil and gas drilling in Portugal. Know more and watch video…

Gathering 2017

We ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to bring international activists and leaders as participants and speakers.

See the story of the gathering in pictures by clicking the image.

Watch the talks, panels and films from the 2017 gathering

Opening speech: “What’s Sacred Activism?” | Martin Winiecki
Cooperation with All Beings |
Sabine Lichtenfels
Healing Biotopes Plan |
Benjamin von Mendelssohn
Gentle Power – the Feminine Revolution
Turtle Island Panel
Middle East Panel
Global South Panel
Defend the Sacred:
What is Sacred?
What is your message to the world?
Water is Life! |
Tokata Iron Eyes

Aerial Art Action

Não ao Furo! Sim ao Futuro – No to oil drilling in Portugal!

On August 12 2017, nearly 1000 people from 40 countries formed a large-scale human message on Odeceixe beach to stop plans for offshore oil drilling in Portugal. The action was part of the event: “Defend the Sacred: Envision a Global Alternative” hosted by Tamera, joined by Standing Rock leaders and supported by environmental movements in Portugal. The aerial human image was designed by John Quigley of Spectral Q and the video was produced by Ludwig Schramm and team, from Tamera.

As the oil companies push to drill for oil off this coast as early as April 2018, we came together to honor that water is life, water is sacred, life is sacred, and that we must defend the sacred. LaDonna Bravebull Allard, initiator of the Sacred Stone camp at Standing Rock said at the event, “I stood up for the water and the world stood with us, so I came here to stand with you. We have no choice, we must stand up for the water and we must stand up now!”

Combining political action with art and prayer, a ceremony for water and fire, we dedicated this act of sacred activism to a regenerative system change from a culture of exploitation to one of cooperation with all that lives. We know that it’s our duty – our mandate – to call people to stand up, because people are ready for an alternative. And that they will run joyfully towards a more beautiful world, as the beachgoers did on Odeceixe-Praia, as they heard and felt the call to complete the final pieces of the powerful message at the last minute.

The message featured the “Linha Vermelha” (“Red Line”) – a campaign in partnership with Climaximo and the Citizenship Academy. The red line represents the voices of those who repeatedly say “no” to the oil drilling here and in the world, and through weaving and knitting, aim to inform and mobilize the population, who otherwise would not be aware and sensitized to this crime. (See:

The aerial art was designed by John Quigley, an American environmental advocate, known around the world for his aerial art activism. See John Quigley’s Biography (PDF) and an article about his work in the London Sunday Times (PDF).

The images are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial license. Acknowledgement: Ludwig Schramm/Karlito Delacasa/Simon du Vinage/Yuval Kovo/Spectral Q. The video is published under the same license – see credits.

Não ao Furo! Sim ao Futuro – No to oil drilling in Portugal!


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