Nemonte Nenquimo – Indigenous Guardianship is Key to Halt the Climate Crisis
For millennia Indigenous communities have been guardians of their environments, protecting flora and fauna, using their traditional knowledge and wisdom passed down over generations to live in balance within their ecosystems. Today Indigenous peoples safeguard 80% of the biodiversity left in the world, and protecting those lands and waters is crucial to mitigating the climate crisis, because those biodiverse areas are among the planet’s major carbon sinks. Indigenous peoples are the ancestral owners of nearly half of the intact forest left across the entire Amazon Basin.
Nemonte Nenquimo, a leader from the Waorani community in Ecuador and a founding member of Indigenous-led nonprofit organization Ceibo Alliance and its partner, Amazon Frontlines, discusses why respecting Indigenous people’s internationally recognized rights to decide the future of their territories, cultures and lives is critically urgent for the protection of our world’s most important rainforest, our climate, and life on our planet.
This talk was delivered at the 2021 Bioneers Conference.
Nemonte Nenquimo, an Indigenous activist from the Ecuadorian Amazon, first female president of her tribe (the Waorani of Pastaza Province) and co-founder of the Indigenous-led Ceibo Alliance and its sister organization Amazon Frontlines, was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people on Earth in 2020 (the only Indigenous woman on the list) and won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize among other major awards, for her struggles against the ravages of oil drilling in her people’s ancestral lands.
For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples have protected their sacred ancestral territories in the Amazon. In this keynote address to the 2019 Bioneers Conference, Leila Salazar López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch, urges us to stand with them to protect and restore the bio-cultural integrity of the Amazon, because our collective future depends on it.
In response to catastrophic assaults on their lands and cultures by corporate industrial civilization, the First Peoples of the Amazon have formed unprecedented alliances to protect lands and peoples. In this address to the 2018 Bioneers Conference, four extraordinary Indigenous leaders offer guiding wisdom from their elders to show what’s at stake for their rainforest territories, what it means to the future of our planet, the amazing successes that Ceibo Alliance has found in their efforts to defend their land, and what we can all do as allies to protect the Amazon, its First Peoples and life on Earth.