Defend the Sacred

In August 2017 and 2018 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. The next gathering of the “Defend the Sacred Alliance” will take place in August 2019. We invite you to join our upcoming conference, which will take place from 16–19 August!


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…


Signed by a group of global visionaries and leaders, these are the key points of the manifesto we collectively agree on as a foundation for a global alliance to defend the sacred.

  • Building upon the peaceful opposition seeded during the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock in 2016, we work on building a globally unified alliance that transcends cultures, borders and beliefs.
  • We unite as a planetary community to midwife a transition to a world where we humans no longer dominate but cooperate with the sacred alliance of life.
  • Evoking our Indigenous wisdom, we work to acknowledge the rights of the Earth and live in communion with Nature and all beings, embracing this planet as one interdependent family.
  • We acknowledge that our collective trauma keeps us in a cycle of continued violence and separation and work to consciously address and heal it. Healing the wounds of the past is essential to creating a culture of peace.
  • To catalyze a global system change and create a culture of peace, we develop social and ecological systems aligned with the matrix of life that unify and interconnect all that lives.
  • We support the emergence of regenerative models, like Healing Biotopes and a network of interconnected, autonomous communities of trust, to contribute to global peace.
  • We commit to defending the sacred—for the water, the earth, the air, for our children and all generations that will come after us. Mni Wiconi—water is life. Life is sacred. It is this sacredness that we defend.

The manifesto is signed by leading activists from around the world – Indigenous elders and youth from North America, (including initiators from Standing Rock), Colombia, Israel, Palestine, Brazil, Bolivia, Kenya, the Philippines and Europe.

Download and share the manifesto (PDF)

Download and share the key points above (PDF)

Download and share the manifesto in Portuguese (PDF)

Download and share the manifesto in German (PDF)

Download and share the manifesto in Spanish (PDF)

Gathering 2018

From August 1-10, 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 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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