Amazon in Focus 2017

Amazon in Focus 2017

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As I reflect on the challenges of our time, I turn to the messages and guidance of our indigenous partners across Abya Yala (the Americas) who remind us to remain unified in resistance and in defense of indigenous rights, the Amazon and all of Mother Earth to protect all that is sacred.

In 1997, the U'wa people of Colombia declared that they would rather die than to allow L.A.-based Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) to drill for oil – a substance the U'wa believe to be the blood of Mother Earth – on their sacred ancestral territory. They said, "We will in no way sell our Mother Earth. To do so would be to give up our work of collaborating with the spirits to protect the heart of the world, which sustains and gives life to the rest of the universe." Since then, Amazon Watch has stood in solidarity with the U'wa who have shown the world what it truly means to keep it in the ground and defend the sacred. We are honored to continue supporting their visionary leadership and recommit to advancing their solutions to protecting rivers, rights and rainforests for all.

While the threats to the Amazon and indigenous peoples seem daunting at times – with reports of increased deforestation due to industrial activity and lawlessness resulting in attacks against earth defenders – we cannot lose sight of hope and victories on the horizon.

As Naomi Klein says, "No is Not Enough." She's right! That is why Amazon Watch is committed to both resistance and solutions. We must be bold and resist the continued threats to all of our communities and our global climate, and reject false solutions; listen to the wisdom of indigenous peoples – the guardians of Mother Earth – who protect 80% of the planet's biodiversity and water on which we all depend for life; stand in solidarity with them and with the scientists who've confirmed that we must keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground to avoid climate chaos; and create the solutions we want to see in the world, including supporting indigenous-led conservation efforts and building a renewable energy economy from California to the Amazon.

To do this, we need you! Please join us in defending the sacred with the U'wa, Sápara, Kichwa, Achuar Munduruku, and all of our indigenous partners and allies across Abya Yala. Together, we will win!

For the Amazon and Mother Earth,

Leila Salazar-López
Executive Director

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