Atossa Soltani — Giving Life Force To Local Wisdom for Global Impact

Listen To On Leading

Photo Credit: Amazon Watch

Photo Credit: Amazon Watch

“We need courage to be our best selves...”

With radical compassion and strategic savvy, Atossa Soltani does the seemingly impossible by leading international campaigns to protect the world’s tropical rainforests from extractive industries and large-scale energy projects. As the founder, former Executive Director, and now board president of Amazon Watch, Atossa has been advocating for indigenous rights and rainforest preservation for decades. Her success at convincing oil companies and international financial institutions to adopt stronger environmental and social standards earned Atossa the prestigious Hillary Laureate Award for Leadership in Climate Equity.

Atossa serves as the chair of the board of trustees of The Christensen Fund, as an advisor to the Peruvian organization called The Arkana Alliance, and as an advisor to the InterAmerican Clean Energy Institute. Previously, she served as a board member of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs for 15 years. Prior to founding Amazon Watch, Atossa designed and directed an award-winning energy and water conservation program for the City of Santa Monica, California, in her role as Conservation Director. She also worked with the Rainforest Action Network.

Building on her expertise documenting and publicizing forest destruction and human rights abuses as a photographer and filmmaker, Atossa currently is working on a film to illustrate the power of The Flow.

In this interview, Atossa reveals the power of restorative leadership in action by listening deeply to herself and to the lived expertise and collective wisdom of community. Discover what Atossa heard in her dreams and how that translated to one of the world’s foremost advocacy organizations that is preserving the heart and lungs of the planet and safeguarding life’s biodiversity on behalf of all.

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Sustain The Planet

In the Amazon region of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, Amazon Watch partners with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability and the preservation of the Amazon's ecological systems.


This award-winning documentary looks into a major environmental disaster in the Amazon, which involves the oil industry in Ecuador. While the film explores the human toll of the corporate presence in the heart of the jungle, it also presents the circumstances involved in the massive legal case associated with the complicated situation. Investigating the issue from a variety of perspectives, the movie shows how big business can drastically affect the world.


Atossa's current project, The Flow, is a feature-length documentary designed to translate the timeless wisdom of Tao into “…a form that is accessible to the modern world.”