Indigenous Voices Lead Largest Climate March Ever
Momentum building as indigenous representatives call to Keep the Oil in the Ground at the People's Climate March in New York
- September 26, 2014
"The protection of nature, forests, and ecosystems is the responsibility of everyone. What happens will ultimately affect us all. We want the Amazon to be valued for what it is, not just an economic resource. We are standing up for our lives, yours, the entire world and for the lives of future generations!"Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa leader from the Ecuadorian Amazon
This past week a small group made big waves in New York City. Amazonian indigenous spokespeople and social movement leaders joined the Indigenous Bloc in leading more than 400,000 others at the People's Climate March. Amazon Watch joined front-line indigenous communities and representatives in demanding that humanity keep the oil in the ground as a fundamental solution to climate chaos. From the Arctic to the Amazon, leadership of indigenous peoples in climate solutions was on full display.
Beyond the historic march, Amazon Watch's indigenous partners were advocating for their rights before numerous audiences both through live events and press interviews. They spoke out at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, offering their perspective – a counter-reality to government's pretty words. Additionally, they presented at the People's Climate Justice Summit, which ran parallel to the UN Climate Summit. While it was a busy week with many opportunities for our partner's to express their voice and concerns about oil drilling in the Amazon, we also launched a video featuring young, Kichwa leader Nina Gualinga, which went viral appearing on Upworthy and reaching more than 100,000 global viewers each day.
This week has been an exhilarating opportunity for indigenous leaders to share their voice and for all of us to express a united call to action. Real leadership on climate action is coming from people on the streets. At the same time, this is not enough. Global policy-makers have spoken about the urgency of climate change, but tangible commitments have yet to be made, especially by top global polluters like China and the U.S. But the opportunity is now. The people have spoken. World leaders must listen.
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"We don't want the government to take the oil from under our lands and we will fight the government."Gloria Hilda Ushigua, President of the Sápara Women's Association
"Indigenous communities already feel the impacts of climate change. Our elder wisdom-keepers warned us, but weren’t listened to. They predicted problems if we continued preying on mother nature, causing impacts so great they won’t only affect nature but also humankind. We are out of time, now is the moment for us to bet on life as our existence depends on it."Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa leader from the Ecuadorian Amazon
"We are here to tell the world that if the Amazon disappears, we will disappear!"Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa leader from the Ecuadorian Amazon