Dancing Star Foundation ("DSF") is a nonprofit public benefit corporation based in California dedicated to Environmental Education. Below are four of our featured projects.

Featured Films


Directed and Written by Michael Tobias
Produced by Jane Gray Morrison with Satre Communications, for the Yasuní-ITT Initiative

Dancing Star Foundation has been working for some time with the Ecuadorian Government to Write, Direct and Co-Produce a short 21 minute film, "Yasuní – A Meditation on Life," which premiered at the Rio+20 Summit in mid-June, 2012; it was screened most recently at the IUCN World Conservation Congress at Jeju, Korea.

Dr. Tobias and Ms. Morrison traveled to Yasuní National Park with Ecuadorian film crews and the Ecuadorian Secretary of State for Yasuní – ITT, Dr. Ivonne Baki, to help champion the cause of preserving the millions of acres of critical habitat Yasuní embodies. In fact, this remote northwestern Amazonian region – now seriously under threat – is viewed by scientists worldwide as one of the most biologically-critical and species abundant areas on Earth – as well as one of the last places in the neotropics with un-contacted indigenous cultures.

Please click on the link that follows to enjoy this 21-minute, visually lush, film which affords an intimate view of one of the true remaining jewels of the Amazon, Yasuní National Park.


  State of Earth
Directed by Michael Tobias & Jane Gray Morrison
Moderated by Alexandra Paul & Peter Kreitler
with panelists
Dr. Paul Ehrlich
Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University
Ingrid Newkirk
President & Co-Founder, People for the Ethical treatment of Animals (PETA)
Dr. Rod Nash
Professor Emeritus, History & Environmental Studies,
UC Santa Barbara
Professor John Harte
College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley
Frances Moore Lappé
Small Planet Institute
Robert Gillespie
Population Communication
Dr. Thomas Gillespie
Professor of Geography, UC Los Angeles
Dr. Michael Tobias
President, Dancing Star Foundation
Edited by Peter Sternlicht with Original Music by Alexis Harte
© 2011 Dancing Star Foundation & Earth Service

Dancing Star Foundation and Earth Service present State of the Earth directed by Michael Tobias & Jane Gray Morrison a provocative three-part series that explores the many environmental, social and ethical issues impacting all life on earth...



HOTSPOTS (View Trailer)
A Dancing Star Foundation Production
In Collaboration with Conservation International
Written and Directed by Michael Tobias
Produced by Jane Gray Morrison and Michael Tobias
Co-Produced by Haroldo Castro
Associate Producer Karine Dinev
Co- Executive Producer Don Cannon

Hosted by Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier


Based upon the book, HOTSPOTS Revisited: Earth's Biologically Richest And Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions, by Russell A. Mittermeier, et.al.(*1), this expeditionary feature film documentary shows how many conservation efforts are succeeding throughout the world; and what it takes - in the trenches - to negotiate a sustainable future for life on Earth. Locations in Madagascar, Brazil, Peru, Chile, the U.S. and New Zealand were chosen as critical representatives of the 35 terrestrial hotspots thus far identified by scientists at Conservation International. The film reveals numerous primates, avians, rodents, bats, insects, reptiles, amphibians, unique plants and human cultural artifacts, some never before filmed. Several new species are recorded on film for the first time.



Featured Books

God's Country: The New Zealand Factor
By Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison
Introduction by Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA
March 21, 2011
A Dancing Star Foundation Book (published in collaboration with Zorba Press)
ISBN: 978-0-927379-99-1
Ebook edition (Format, PDF): FREE
Contact: info@dancingstarfoundation.org

Click here to download God's Country

God's Country: The New Zealand Factor

…an Expansive Analysis of Eco-Trends of the 21st Century's 1st Decade

Los Angeles - The Dancing Star Foundation (Los Angeles, CA) and Zorba Press (Ithaca, NY) have just announced the online/worldwide release of God's Country: The New Zealand Factor by Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison, Introduction by Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The book, 602 pages and more than 850 photographs. The book - a mixture of Utopian prose and deeply personal supposition - provides an expansive analysis of ecological trends of the first decade of the 21st century, using New Zealand as an important paradigm for positive global change.

Far more than one more treatise on environmental change, God's Country explores the many complex issues affecting the local, regional and global ecosystems upon which all life depends and against which the human conscience is heartbreakingly at odds.

Tobias and Morrison profile this frequent collision of ethical values and personal, political and fiscal interests at every social level: from the individual choice to consume, or not to consume, animal products; animal rights, animal welfare and animal protectionist organizations; biomedical interests and factory farming; and many of the NGOs and governments around the globe in earnest disarray over the myriad causes and consequences of climate change.

The Authors note that the complexity of the issues explored, compounded by inherent cultural differences which further exacerbate global dissension and disengagement, while daunting, are not insurmountable and, indeed, underscore the interconnectedness of a world at risk.

And while this 602-page treatise is, according to the Authors and Publisher, no more than a large amalgamation of Opinions and Subjective Surmise, the Authors cite time again their sincere beliefs that New Zealand is a nation optimally situated to foment a sea-change in reassessing the human, animal, environment connection… a nation in the throes of contradiction, to be sure, but a nation where thoughtful public dialogue can drive encouraging change towards a more compassionate future.

Consider the New Zealand paradox: with its thousands of protected, covenanted areas and fourteen remarkable national parks, New Zealand has capitalized brilliantly on "eco-tourism." Yet it has also been described as one of the world's "capitals of extinction" (along with many other regions and nations) due to the tragic loss of species, principally bird species (avifauna). In addition, New Zealand's tranquil image of picture postcard scenery, betrays a less talked-about reality, namely, the slaughter of farm animals for the breakfast, lunch and dinner; a situation that exists in every country.

The very public "dialogue of conscience" in New Zealand, Tobias and Morrison posit, can serve as an expedient for change in individual choices and industrial change, alike. Calling upon both historical and contemporary sources, the authors paint both wrenching and Quixotic portraits as they examine animal suffering and habitat degradation in New Zealand and throughout the world. But beyond carefully chronicling the global crisis in these vital areas, they offer a practicable blueprint for change, enshrining a new methodology for examining the pain and cruelty meted out by humans to other species - a veritable cartography they call "pain points."

"New Zealand," Tobias and Morrison observe, "has the profound opportunity to reinvent her future in every environmentally-vulnerable sector, most notably agriculture for domestic consumption and export." In their words, "New Zealand is a country capable of anything: a new world, a revivified tenable roadmap for compassion and pragmatic idealism that could ultimately work anywhere, in every human community."

The message in God's Country: The New Zealand Factor is one of stark realism tempered by compassion and hope. In her introduction to the book, Ingrid Newkirk, President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) concludes, "Michael Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison have a dream. The beauty of their dream is not only in the imagining, it is in knowing that it could come true.

What it would take to make that happen is for a relatively small number of human beings to decide that the world need not spin out of control and that they themselves are powerful enough to help turn what is now a dream into reality, or at least move us all closer to it."


Sanctuary: Global Oases of Innocence
Written and Photographed by Michael Tobias
and Jane Gray Morrison
Foreword by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Queen of the Fourth King of Bhutan.
A Dancing Star Foundation Book,
San Francisco and Tulsa: Council Oak Books, 2008

Website: www.sanctuary-thebook.org

This stunning photographic odyssey spanning two-dozen extraordinary animal and habitat sanctuaries throughout the world is a celebration of the whole "sanctuary movement." Sanctuary embraces the rescue and rehabilitation of abused "farm animals" in the United States, of bears, wolves and an old forest in Europe, Asian elephants and tigers, rare orchids and other species in India, orangutans in Borneo, butterflies in Malaysia, rare plants in Yemen and cheetahs in South Africa.