John D. Liu

John Dennis Liu, as an award winning documentary film maker, addresses his audience in truly compelling and captivating ways. Through his multi-media presentations and his films, John has managed to influence policy on national and regional levels, most recently in Rwanda. He manages to reach audiences from distinctly different backgrounds: business leaders and economists, academia, students, policy makers and politicians, leading them towards higher levels of motivation and most importantly, action.

15 Responses to “John D. Liu”

  • Jhein:

    Hi John,
    I’m looking forward to your reports.

  • angus joseph:

    hello sir,

    am currently based in the Learning Village in baviaanskloof, hoping to contribute to this site.

    have you uploaded footage connected to your site visit onto this site?


  • Dear Angus: Please write directly to me at and I’ll send you links you can download. We have showed the learning village in a UNCCD film recently. Best regards, John

  • Hi John,

    I’m a college senior currently working on an honors thesis focused in foreign funding and marine protection areas in the Philippines. I noticed you’ve been to Southeast Asia and wondered if you have done any work on marine biodiversity. Thank you for your dedication to the environment and people through action.



  • John:

    Dear Katelyn: Greetings. I have done some scuba diving in Bali and Thailand. I’ve also done an initial survey in Bonaire where our colleague Merel is working. My feeling over the years is that it is possible to see rapidly declining biodiversity in the oceans. This is very worrying.

    While I’m not concentrating on oceans they are certainly important. My major work is to study and communicate what I have learned. I feel that there needs to be a general evolutionary leap in humans to understand nature and align with natural systems. This is both for the land and the sea. This is where I think I can be of use.

    Good luck with your studies and work. It is an important area. John

  • Briek:

    Hello John,

    I watched the “Green Gold” documentary and was very much inspired by it. One part that really got me thinking was the biomass exchange idea where, instead of the slash and burn methods in the tropics, the surplus of Biomass from the tropics could be shipped over to more arid lands to speed up ecosystem recovery. It does seem like a great method enabling more awareness while creating a business around a huge problem. The one thing that keeps biting me is that due to the possibility of cross continent transfer of biologic material, seeds from a different environment might start to grow elsewhere and distort previous ecological balances. Do you see this as a possible hindrance and if not, how do you think trade authorities will respond to such activities.

    I am currently based in Singapore working at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and would love to contribute to restoring ecosystems globally. If there are specific things I can do now from Singapore, or if there are projects starting that would allow for engaging students, please let me know.

    Best regards, Briek Starink

  • Dear John..i am impressed! i discovered you from brasscheck..but the task still remains as to how to protect this beautifull success from the likes of Monsanto,im worried,thankyou,charles.

  • Hi John,
    A couple of Qs for you…
    1. how does your dry land restoration vision mesh with

    2. what is your view on biochar? Maybe it could be a better path for your biomass movement for ‘slash&burn’ agriculture. A big problem here in SEA as well. Also solves the issue raised by Briek, above. Biochar is starting to be accepted by permaculture groups.

  • Dear Trevor:

    1. I think that Allan Savory’s work is excellent but applicable in grasslands.
    2. Biochar is useful but not a panacea. Multiple interventions are required as well as constant monitoring and assessment.

    On the philosophical front I don’t think we need a dogma that says this is right and other things are wrong. I think we need to be sensitive to natural systems and ensure that we align human activity with natural systems.

    I see ecological restoration as the “GREAT WORK” of our time and the duty of all who are alive today. Probably the main driver is to re-design the economic system to correctly value natural systems. By doing this it will be impossible to pollute or degrade.

    Best regards,


  • Dear Briek:

    Thanks for your comments. Everyone is needed to restore ecosystem function on a planetary scale. It is what brings us together as a species. It is in all our interests.

    In the outlook magazine is an article I wrote on how the basing the economy on ecosystem function could change the world.

    Best regards,


  • Dear Charles:

    We cannot do anything about what has happened in the past but we can determine what happens in the future.

    Don’t be worried. If we work hard and do our best we will see the results.

    Best regards,


  • Mark:

    Thank you Mr. Liu for your work. I found the documentary Green Gold to be very compelling. Your commentary about monetization of products and derivatives having greater value than their source was something I used to illustrate this same thing going on in economic and monetary instrument theory. I recently posted this on my FB page under my name there, Francis O’My and to the FB page of the group Common Wealth Tax:

    How can the money (the tool which is basically just math – counting – that we humans invented for our interactive activity – the market) be of greater value than that which we brought it into existence to support? Is this not the insanity of interest on real money? Does this not amount to charging use rights for one counting tool issued by one entity over another? Is it not also the insanity of allowing only some of humanity the power to control the tool that was/is brought into existence for the support of the interactions of all? How can the belief in “the market value of capital” with its deleterious/restrictive effects on the availability of the tool for all (the entire “market” of human interaction) serve the very purpose for which We The People brought it into existence in the first place? Does not the influence of ideas behind “the market value of capital” end up being just as destructive to the utilitarian purpose for which money – a simple counting tool – came into existence, just as destructive as any monarchy or other single entity’s intentional limitation on the widespread distribution of the tool itself for all to use? How can the “misappropriation of funds” ideas of capital investment jive with the very utilitarian purpose for which the money was intended? How can some of these very important human activities that do not “make money” be accomplished without the very tool that was invented to make these activities easier to achieve, ie: the recognition or counting of the credit for the doing that needs to be done – child care, elder care, environmental stewardship? At what point does humanity wake up to the fact that The Market is no more a friend of The People and The Planet than The king or The Bank?

    From “Green Gold”, the documentary by John D. Liu we hear this question posed in the arena of environmental consciousness:
    “We have only just begun to recognize the real value of natural capital. Surely investing in the recovery of damaged environments is a cost effective way of solving many of the problems we face today. The source of wealth is the functional ecosystems. The products and services that we derive from those are derivatives. It’s impossible for the derivatives to be more valuable than the source. And yet in our economy now as it stands the products and services have monetary values, but the source – the functional ecosystems – are zero! So this cannot be true. It’s false! So we’ve created a global institution of economic institutions and economic theory based on a flaw in logic. So if we carry that flaw in logic from generation to generation we compound the mistake.”

    Are not coins nothing more than counting beads or disks removed from the slide bars of the abacus with numbers stamped on them to represent the former position “values” they held on the abacus? These are counting values, number values in a mathematical counting aid not intrinsic values in the beads or disks themselves!

  • Mark: This question is one that we need to discuss with everyone. I would say in that in the main you are correct. However, many people are highly invested in the status quo and actually think that they are benefiting from the illogical economic system that has been historically imposed around the world. The truth is that they like everyone else will die within a few decades and that neither they, nor their descendants will truly benefit if the climate changes, or if society collapses into chaos.

    We need to think beyond the mechanistic part to the morality and the intention of the system.

    The system we have comes from feudalism, slavery, imperialism, colonization and mercantile expansion following the industrial revolution and was imposed on the entire world. The majority of people in the world do not believe in global economics as it is now practiced. The system is inherently unfair.

    Somehow we need to get the children of the slave owners and the children of the slaves to agree on the way forward for the economy and society. What I have been studying suggests that there is a place where all peoples interest and the interest of the Earth can be seen to be the same.

    This seems to be where we need to be philosophically. So that my interest, your interest, the interest of everyone else and the Earth can be seen to be the same.

    When we value Ecological Function higher than Products then we have started the process of re-valuing the Economy. From this type of valuation the Economy is bigger than the production economy and you don’t need to produce to increase wealth. You need to increase ecological function to increase wealth. This serves everyone and the Earth.

    Good luck with you work. Best regards, John

Leave a Reply