News & Multimedia from 2015
On Dec. 12th, 195 nations signed the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement to limit CO2 emissions for the first time. In the days following, a debate has raged over whether the accord is a historic, unprecedented deal or whether it's the product of a pro-business climate circus that sold out basic science and principles of justice.
The Amazon rainforest can seem unimaginably vast. Similarly, the fight to defend it from the onslaught of industrial-scale threats like oil drilling, logging, and huge dams can appear overwhelming. But across the region, local indigenous peoples and our work to support them is making the difference and protecting the lands they have known for centuries. In 2015, these five snapshots of success gave us hope that the Amazon has a chance to avoid ecosystem collapse, but only if we support its indigenous guardians.
As I reflect on our recent work at COP21 in Paris on the Winter Solstice, I am very proud of what we achieved and filled with great hope for our work ahead. The Amazon Watch team did an incredible job of accompanying and supporting a twelve-person delegation of indigenous leaders, women and youth from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon and two Munduruku leaders from the Tapajós River Basin in the Brazilian Amazon to ensure the voices, concerns and solutions from indigenous peoples from the Amazon were heard by global leaders and media, and they were!
I was among the Indigenous People from the Amazon Rainforest who made it to the COP21 climate summit in Paris. I felt it was my duty to be the voice of those who could not attend.
While government officials inside COP21 conference rooms just outside Paris were reviewing the cost-benefit analyses of cutting down on emissions or debating the numerical semantics of the warming of the earth, the human side of climate change and environmental destruction took center stage just a few kilometers south at the Maison des Metallos on the weekend of December 5-6th.
Munduruku leaders bring their movement to Paris climate summitDecember 14, 2015
At the closure of this year's critical COP21 summit in Paris, the most inspirational stories do not stem from official negotiations. They emanate from the heroic efforts of global indigenous movements, bringing a message of resilience and defiance from the front lines of climate change.
The final agreement from the Paris climate talks has been the subject of much controversy regarding the language in the document pertaining to indigenous rights. Any semblance of a legally binding measure pertaining to these rights was omitted from the final agreement that was signed by the governments of 190 countries. The agreement concluded a two-week long process that brought together some of the world's largest corporations, and environmental and human rights organizations, to agree on international energy standards, goals and applications.
Amazon Watch Statement on COP21 AgreementDecember 12, 2015
Paris, France – Over the last two weeks, Amazon Watch stood in solidarity with indigenous peoples and front line communities as they forcefully advocated for their rights and promoted true climate solutions at the COP21 climate summit. As the details of the Paris Accord are being revealed, we continue to support their rights, solutions and their denunciations of the agreement as inadequate and a potential death sentence for vulnerable communities everywhere.
The Kichwa tribe in the Sarayaku region of the Amazon in Ecuador believe in the 'living forest', where humans, animals and plants live in harmony. They are fighting oil companies who want to exploit their ancestral land. A delegation of indigenous people are at the Paris COP21 climate conference to make sure their voices are heard.
Among the cases heard by this tribunal, several dealt with oil exploitation in Ecuador – a country that, ironically, was the first to include the rights of nature into its 2008 constitution. One of these cases focused on Yasuní National Park.December 10, 2015Mongabay
Last weekend, while the official COP21 negotiations were going on north of Paris at a site called Le Bourget, leaders of indigenous nations in North and South America were in Paris calling for justice for what they say are ongoing violations of the rights of the earth itself.