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Kuku Yalanji Young Elder, Lorna, giving Liana Cornell, a ceremonial smoking, Eastern Australia

Refugia Documentary Highlights Crises

PM’s exclusive interview with Britannia actress Liana Cornell celebrates people and communities dedicated to nurturing Nature

Liana Cornell’s mum and dad are both famous actors (dad produced the much loved film Crocodile Dundee). Liana is an actress too. Presently she is playing Ania, a lead in the hit TV series, Britannia (where female empowerment is front and central). PM has been invited to an exclusive interview with her, via Zoom, from her Australian home ... she is a fan of the magazine “I can’t believe I get to speak to Permaculture Magazine,” she says with genuine warmth. “I grew up with permaculture, knowing about it, many of us do in Australia, we have to”. It certainly isn’t the normal media Liana gets to do, or for that matter PM, so, what’s the score?

She is dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt. We break the ice by talking about last night’s Friends Reunited programme and Permayouth ( who originated in Australia. PM mentions that 1960s band The Grateful Dead have just donated money to the young people in a Kenyan refugee camp that Permayouth are working with (to enable them to record their music while also learning about permaculture and in turn helping to educate others). Liana stands up and says “you’re kidding me” she walks towards the camera so we can see her t-shirt closer, it’s a Grateful Dead t-shirt! We laugh – it’s a good start.

Walking The Talk

Liana has put all of her own earnings from Britannia to bolster the philanthropic work of Refugia ( co-created by her in order to ensure a better planet for many generations to come. Refugia celebrate our every-day heroes and organisations striving to improve our planet, achieving spectacular results, little by little, in their own unique ways.

A Refugia is an area where special environmental circumstances have enabled a species or a community of species to survive after extinction in surrounding areas. More than ever, now is the time to recognise and support ordinary, unsung people, and their extraordinary commitment to the protection of these Refugia.

Going a step further Liana has now written, directed, and produced a five part documentary series in which she travels to meet such ‘heroes’. The series too is called Refugia. In the series she approaches things from the perspective of the five elements present in every living thing – air, earth, fire, water, spirit. There are plenty of links to ‘perma­culture’ in the series, and we talk about blue carbon sinks (our oceans and reefs), and the positives of hemp, herb nurseries and mycellium.

Cinematically stunning, bold, personal and evocative, Refugia illuminates the stories of the people she encounters and inspires us to realise that we in turn can be the solution. “When we react with action, we unite in a compassionate, global collective, creating continuing, constructive change.” It is inspiring stuff.

The Inescapable Urge to do More

She says she and other young people are massively aware of the environmental crisis issue 109  autumn 2021

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