|Driven and driven by the creative breath, and realizing our sovereignty to activate a survival strategy for the Earth and future generations, a group of people – organizations and networks – have decided to do a global call for the
Universal Proclamation of Land Rights in order that each citizen of the world, the Colombian state and world governments on Earth recognize a subject of rights life itself, of which our existence depends.This event will be held simultaneously on October 12, 2012 at 12:00 am, Dignity Day, in various parts of Metro: Cuzco, Urubamba, Peru, Bogota, Cali, Medellin-Manizales-Pasto-Santa Marta-Bucaramanga-Colombia, Barcelona Spain, Berlin, Germany, India, Mexico, Cochabamba, Bolivia, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Caracas, Venezuela among others, are already confirmed.
We envision a ceremony of 8000 drums for our mother nature, this would be the beginning of a series of activities that will take place from 12 October to 21 December 2012.We are writing to you especially since we know that this product serves to disseminate the work for the rights of nature and consider it important to coordinate our efforts to fulfill the purpose of defending our territory. So we invite you to actively participate in this process, thereby strengthening its leadership for the benefit of culture, art and life of all beings on the planet that represents the existence of our community.
We know that for years have worked at for communicative structured as a major global communications network that is why we come to you with admiration and respect, hoping to join together in the flower heart to see the new world that our ancestors dreamed and our future generations deserve, so we see as an example to follow, as older brothers. We decided present our unconditional support for this event and those who are coming and you know well that they have a family extended throughout the world.
The 8000 Drums is a spontaneous event of Peoples and Nations Originating Worldwide.
Receive this message of brotherhood and support from ancestral knowledge of the Network, Community, Water Song, Youth for the original identity and Respect Tawantinsuyu, Astronomical Global Network, Conscious Global Compact, the Spoon Revolution, Fungi Experimental Community, Redviva and many other organizations worldwide that we will carry out activities in the framework of this festival.
Impulsados e impulsadas por el aliento creador, y conscientes de nuestra soberanía para activar una estrategia de supervivencia para La Tierra y las generaciones venideras, un grupo de personas, colectivos, organizaciones y redes, hemos decidido hacer un llamado mundial a La Proclamación Universal de los Derechos de la Tierra con el fin de que cada ciudadano y ciudadana del mundo, el estado colombiano y los gobiernos mundiales, reconozcan en la Tierra un sujeto de derechos con vida propia, del cual depende nuestra existencia.
Este acto se realizará simultáneamente el 12 de octubre de 2012 a las 12:00 am, día de la Dignidad, en diversos lugares del Planeta: Cuzco-Urubamba Perú, Bogotá-Cali-Pasto- Medellin- Manizales- Santa Marta- Bucaramanga-Colombia.
Nos dirigimos especialmente a ustedes ya que tenemos claro que esta pagina sirve para difundir el trabajo por los derechos de la naturaleza y consideramos importante articular nuestros esfuerzos para cumplir con el propósito de defender nuestro territorio. Por lo tanto los invitamos a PARTICIPAR ACTIVAMENTE en este proceso, fortaleciendo así su liderazgo, en beneficio de la cultura, el arte y la vida de todos los seres del planeta que representa la existencia de nuestra comunidad.
Sabemos que durante años han trabajado a nivel comunicativo para estructurarse como una gran red de comunicaciones global por esa razón nos acercamos a ustedes con admiración y respeto, con la esperanza de hermanarnos en el
8000 Tambores es un evento espontáneo de los Pueblos y Naciones Originarias de Todo el Mundo.
Reciba este mensaje de hermandad y de apoyo de parte de Red de saberes ancestrales xie, de la Comunidad, Canto al Agua, Juventud por la Identidad Originaria y el Respeto a Tawantinsuyu, Red Astronómica Global, Pacto Mundial Consciente, la Revolución de la Cuchara, Comunidad Fungi Experimental, REDVIVA y muchas otras organizaciones que a nivel mundial vamos a realizar actividades en el marco de este festival.
” Ko au te awa, Ko te awa ko au ~ I am the river and the river is me” expresses the special, spiritual relationship the iwi peoples (Maori) hold with the Whanganui river.
In a landmark preliminary agreement between the Crown government of New Zealand and the Whanganui River iwi, the Whanganui River was granted legal personhood status. The agreement extends rights and standing as a person for the Whanganui River.
The agreement recognizes the river and all its tributaries as a single entity, Te Awa Tupua, and makes it a legal entity with rights and interests, and the owner of its own river bed. Two guardians, one from the Crown and one from a Whanganui River iwi, will be given the role of protecting the river. Once the details of the agreement are complete, the iwi and government officials will serve as legal custodians as legal guardians represent children today.
The agreement has been a long time coming. The iwi have sought legal protection of the river since 1873. The Whanganui River Maori Trust Board, whose Chairman Dr. Brendon Puetapu signed the agreement, was constituted in 1988 under the Maori Trust Boards Act 1955.
The Whanganui River historically has been an important communication route into the central part of the North Island of New Zealand for settlers and local Moari. Rising from high on the volcanic plateau of Mt Tomaririo, the Whanganui River winds through deep canyons clad with native tree ferns until it opens into the valleys and coastal dunes of the Tasman Sea.
We congratulate the Whanganui River iwi, the Crown and all of New Zealand for this historic move.
For more information see Agreement entitles Whanganui River to legal identity
Blessing ceremony of the historical Kari Oca II Declaration, Kari-Oka Village, at Sacred Kari-Oka Púku, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 June 2012.
Over five hundred Indigenous Peoples from Brazil and throughout the world gathered at Kari-Oca II, an encampment seated at the foot of a mountain near Rio Centro, to sign a declaration demanding respect for Indigenous Peoples’ role in maintaining a stable world environment, and condemning the dominant economic approach toward ecology, development, human rights and the rights of Mother Earth. Among the leadership at the Kari-Oca gathering were Tom Goldtooth and other IEN delegates.
We, the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth assembled at the site of Kari-Oka I, sacred Kari-Oka Púku, Rio de Janeiro to participate in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, thank the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil for welcoming us to their territories. We reaffirm our responsibility to speak for the protection and enhancement of the well-being of Mother Earth, nature and future generations of our Indigenous Peoples and all humanity and life. We recognize the significance of this second convening of Indigenous Peoples of the world and reaffirm the historic 1992 meeting of the Kari-Oca I, where Indigenous Peoples issued The Kari-Oca Declaration and the Indigenous Peoples Earth Charter. The Kari-Oca conference, and the mobilization of Indigenous Peoples around the first UN Earth Summit, marked a big step forward for an international movement for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the important role that Indigenous Peoples play in conservation and sustainable development. We also reaffirm the Manaus Declaration on the convening of Kari-Oca 2 as the international gathering of Indigenous Peoples for Rio+20.
The institutionalization of Colonialism
We see the goals of UNCSD Rio+20, the “Green Economy” and its premise that the world can only “save” nature by commodifying its life giving and life sustaining capacities as a continuation of the colonialism that Indigenous Peoples and our Mother Earth have faced and resisted for 520 years. The “Green Economy” promises to eradicate poverty but in fact will only favor and respond to multinational enterprises and capitalism. It is a continuation of a global economy based upon fossil fuels, the destruction of the environment by exploiting nature through extractive industries such as mining, oil exploration and production, intensive mono-culture agriculture, and other capitalist investments. All of these efforts are directed toward profit and the accumulation of capital by the few.
Since Rio 1992, we as Indigenous Peoples see that colonization has become the very basis of the globalization of trade and the dominant capitalist global economy. The exploitation and plunder of the world’s ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as the violations of the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples that depend on them, have intensified. Our rights to self determination, to our own governance and own self-determined development, our inherent rights to our lands, territories and resources are increasingly and alarmingly under attack by the collaboration of governments and transnational corporations. Indigenous activists and leaders defending their territories continue to suffer repression, militarization, including assassination, imprisonment, harassment and vilification as “terrorists.” The violation of our collective rights faces the same impunity. Forced relocation or assimilation assault our future generations, cultures, languages, spiritual ways and relationship to the earth, economically and politically.
We, Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world have defended our Mother Earth from the aggression of unsustainable development and the over exploitation of our natural resources by mining, logging, mega-dams, exploration and extraction of petroleum. Our forests suffer from the production of agro-fuels, bio-mass, plantations and other impositions of false solutions to climate change and unsustainable, damaging development.
The Green Economy is nothing more than capitalism of nature; a perverse attempt by corporations, extractive industries and governments to cash in on Creation by privatizing, commodifying, and selling off the Sacred and all forms of life and the sky, including the air we breathe, the water we drink and all the genes, plants, traditional seeds, trees, animals, fish, biological and cultural diversity, ecosystems and traditional knowledge that make life on Earth possible and enjoyable.
Gross violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to food sovereignty continue unabated thus resulting to food “insecurity”. Our own food production, the plants that we gather, the animals that we hunt, our fields and harvests, the water that we drink and water our fields, the fish that we catch from our rivers and streams, is diminishing at an alarming rate. Unsustainable development projects, such as mono-cultural chemically intensive soya plantations, extractive industries such as mining and other environmentally destructive projects and investments for profit are destroying our biodiversity, poisoning our water, our rivers, streams, and the earth and its ability to maintain life. This is further aggravated by Climate change and hydroelectric dams and other energy production that affect entire ecosystems and their ability to provide for life.
Food sovereignty is one fundamental expression of our collective right to self-determination and sustainable development. Food sovereignty and the right to food must be observed and respected; food must not be a commodity to be used, traded and speculated on for profit. It nourishes our identities, our cultures and languages, and our ability to survive as Indigenous Peoples.
Mother Earth is the source of life which needs to be protected, not a resource to be exploited and commodified as a ‘natural capital.’ We have our place and our responsibilities within Creation’s sacred order. We feel the sustaining joy as things occur in harmony with the Earth and with all life that it creates and sustains. We feel the pain of disharmony when we witness the dishonor of the natural order of Creation and the continued economic colonization and degradation of Mother Earth and all life upon her. Until Indigenous Peoples rights are observed and respected, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty will not be achieved.
This inseparable relationship between humans and the Earth, inherent to Indigenous, Peoples must be respected for the sake of our future generations and all of humanity. We urge all humanity to join with us in transforming the social structures, institutions and power relations that underpin our deprivation, oppression and exploitation. Imperialist globalization exploits all that sustains life and damages the Earth. We need to fundamentally reorient production and consumption based on human needs rather than for the boundless accumulation of profit for a few. Society must take collective control of productive resources to meet the needs of sustainable social development and avoid overproduction, over consumption and over exploitation of people and nature which are inevitable under the prevailing monopoly capitalist system. We must focus on sustainable communities based on indigenous knowledge, not on capitalist development.
We demand that the United Nations, governments and corporations abandon false solutions to climate change, like large hydroelectric dams, genetically modified organisms including GMO trees, plantations, agro-fuels, “clean” coal, nuclear power, natural gas, hydraulic fracturing, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, bio-energy, biomass, biochar, geo-engineering, carbon markets, Clean Development Mechanism and REDD+ that endanger the future and life as we know it. Instead of helping to reduce global warming, they poison and destroy the environment and let the climate crisis spiral exponentially, which may render the planet almost uninhabitable.
We cannot allow false solutions to destroy the Earth’s balance, assassinate the seasons, unleash severe weather havoc, privatize life and threaten the very survival of humanity. The Green Economy is a crime against humanity and the Earth. In order to achieve sustainable development, states must recognize the traditional systems of resource management of the Indigenous Peoples that have existed for the millennia, sustaining us even in the face of colonialism. Assuring Indigenous Peoples’ active participation in decision making processes affecting them, and their right of Free Prior and Informed Consent is fundamental. States should likewise provide support for Indigenous Peoples appropriate to their sustainability and self determined priorities without restrictions and constricting guidelines.
Indigenous youth and women’s active participation must also be given importance as they are among the most affected by the negative impacts brought by the commodification of nature. As inheritors of Mother Earth, the youth play a vital role in continuing defending what is left of their natural resources that were valiantly fought for by their ancestors. Their actions and decisions amidst the commercialization of their resources and culture will determine the future of their younger brothers and sisters and the generations to come.
We will continue to struggle against the construction of hydroelectric dams and all other forms of energy production that affect our waters, our fish, our biodiversity and ecosystems that contribute to our food sovereignty. We will work to preserve our territories from the poison of monoculture plantations, extractive industries and other environmentally destructive projects and continue our ways of life, preserving our cultures and identities. We will work to preserve our traditional plants and seeds, and maintain the balance between our needs and the needs of our Mother Earth and her life sustaining capacity. We will demonstrate to the world that it can and must be done. In all matters we will gather and organize the solidarity of all Indigenous Peoples from all parts of the world, and all other sources of solidarity with non-indigenous of good will to join our struggle for food sovereignty and food security. We reject the privatization and corporate control of resources such as our traditional seeds and food. Finally, we demand the states to uphold our rights to the control of our traditional management systems and by providing concrete support such as appropriate technologies for us to develop our food sovereignty.
We reject the false promises of sustainable development and solutions to climate change that only serve the dominant economic order. We reject REDD, REDD+ and other market-based solutions that focus on our forests, to continue the violation of our inherent rights to self determination and right to our lands, territories, waters, and natural resources, and the Earth’s right to create and sustain life. There is no such thing as “sustainable mining.” There is no such thing as “ethical oil.”
We reject the assertion of intellectual property rights over the genetic resources and traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples which results in the alienation and commodification of Sacred essential to our lives and cultures. We reject industrial modes of food production that promote the use of chemical substances, genetically engineered seeds and organisms. Therefore, we affirm our right to possess, control, protect and pass on the indigenous seeds, medicinal plants and traditional knowledge originating from our lands and territories for the benefit of our future generations.
The Future We Want
In the absence of a true implementation of sustainable development, the world is now in a multiple ecological, economic and climatic crisis; including biodiversity loss, desertification, deglaciation, food, water, energy shortage, a worsening global economic recession, social instability and crisis of values. In this sense, we recognize that much remains to be done by international agreements to respond adequately to the rights and needs of Indigenous Peoples. The actual contributions and potentials of our peoples must be recognized by a true sustainable development for our communities that allows each one of us to Live Well.
As peoples, we reaffirm our rights to self-determination and to own, control and manage our traditional lands and territories, waters and other resources. Our lands and territories are at the core of our existence – we are the land and the land is us; we have a distinct spiritual and material relationship with our lands and territories and they are inextricably linked to our survival and to the preservation and further development of our knowledge systems and cultures, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem management.
We will exercise the right to determine and establish priorities and strategies for our self-development and for the use of our lands, territories and other resources. We demand that free, prior and informed consent must be the determinant and legally binding principle of approving or rejecting any plan, project or activity affecting our lands, territories and other resources. Without the right of Free Prior and Informed Consent, the colonialist model of the domination of the Earth and its resources will continue with the same impunity.
We will continue to unite as Indigenous Peoples and build a strong solidarity and partnership among ourselves, local communities and non-indigenous genuine advocates of our issues. This solidarity will advance the global campaign for Indigenous Peoples rights to land, life and resources and in the achievement of our self-determination and liberation. We will continue to challenge and resist colonialist and capitalist development models that promote the domination of nature, incessant economic growth, limitless profit-seeking resource extraction, unsustainable consumption and production and the unregulated commodities and financial markets. Humans are an integral part of the natural world and all human rights, including Indigenous Peoples’ rights, which must be respected and observed by development.
We invite all of civil society to protect and promote our rights and worldviews and respect natural law, our spiritualities and cultures and our values of reciprocity, harmony with nature, solidarity, and collectivity. Caring and sharing, among other values, are crucial in bringing about a more just, equitable and sustainable world. In this context, we call for the inclusion of cultureas the fourth pillar of sustainable development.
The legal recognition and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples to land, territories, resources and traditional knowledge should be a prerequisite for development and planning for any and all types of adaptation and mitigation to climate change, environmental conservation (including the creation of “protected areas”), the sustainable use of biodiversity and measures to combat desertification. In all instances there must be free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.
We continue to pursue the commitments made at Earth Summit as reflected in this political declaration. We call on the UN to begin their implementation, and to ensure the full, formal and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all processes and activities of the Rio+20 Conference and beyond, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
We continue to inhabit and maintain the last remaining sustainable ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots in the world. We can contribute substantially to sustainable development but we believe that a holistic ecosystem framework for sustainable development should be promoted. This includes the integration of the human-rights based approach, ecosystem approach and culturally sensitive and knowledge-based approaches.
We declare our solidarity and support for the demands and aspirations of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil found in the Annex to this Declaration.
We Walk in the Footsteps of our Ancestors.
Accepted by Acclamation, Kari-Oka Village, at Sacred Kari-Oka Púku, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 17 June 2012.
Tom B.K. Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network
Note: This is an excerpt of one section from the NO REDD READER, A collection of articles written by REDD Monitor, Global Justice Ecology Project, Diego Alejandro Cardona, Tatiana Roa Avendaño, Honduran Garifuna Organization, World Rainforest Movement, Carbon Trade Watch, Brihannala Morgan, ETC Group and Indigenous Environmental Network.
For the complete REDD READER – Click here to download/read/share!
All humans and all life are affected by climate change, however, Indigenous Peoples and local land-based communities worldwide are more vulnerable and therefore are confronting immense challenges. Changes in the climate, environment, the exploitation of economic globalization, free trade agreements and a continuation of western forms of development threaten indigenous and local land-based communities on a local and global level. The survival of indigenous cultures worldwide, including the languages and right to practice their cultural heritage continue to be affected by a modern industrialized world with an economic growth paradigm that lacks awareness and respect for the sacredness of Mother Earth. As “guardians” of Mother Earth, many indigenous tribal traditions believe that it is their historic responsibility to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth and to be defenders of the Circle of Life which includes biodiversity, forests, flora, fauna and all living species.
Indigenous Peoples participating in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate negotiations and other the UN Convention on Biological Diversity are in the front lines of a power structure that minimizes the importance of indigenous cosmologies, philosophies and world views. These power structures reside within the UN process and prop up inequalities found in industrialized countries, the more developed of the developing countries, the World Bank and financial institutions. These powerful actors have economic systems that objectify, commodify and put a monetary value on land, water, forests and air that is antithetical to indigenous understanding. Indigenous peoples, North and South, are forced into the world market with nothing to negotiate with except the natural resources relied on for survival.
With many indigenous communities it is difficult and sometimes impossible to reconcile their traditional spiritual beliefs within a climate mitigation regime that commodifies the sacredness of air, trees and life. Climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management must be based on different mindsets which give full respect for nature, the rights of Mother Earth and not on market-based mechanisms.
History has seen attempts to commodify land, food, labor, forests, water, genes and ideas, such as privatization of our traditional knowledge. Carbon trading follows in the footsteps of this history and turns the sacredness of our Mother Earth’s carbon-cycling capacity into property to be bought or sold in a global market. Through this process of creating a new commodity – carbon – Mother Earth’s ability and capacity to support a climate conducive to life and human societies is now passing into the same corporate hands that are destroying the climate. Carbon trading will not contribute to achieving protection of the Earth’s climate.
It is a false solution which entrenches and magnifies social inequalities in many ways. It is a violation of the sacred – plain and simple. We recognize the need for industrialized countries to focus on new economies, governed by the absolute limits and boundaries of ecological sustainability, the carrying capacities of Mother Earth, a more equitable sharing of global and local resources, encouragement and support of self sustaining communities, and respect and support for the rights of Mother Earth. Long term solutions require turning away from prevailing paradigms and ideologies centered on pursuing economic growth, corporate profits and personal wealth accumulation as primary engines of social well-being. The transitions will inevitably be toward societies that can equitably adjust to reduced levels of production and consumption, and increasingly localized systems of economic organization that recognition, honor and are bounded by the limits of nature that recognize the draft Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.1
“In recognizing the root causes of climate change, participants call upon the industrialized countries and the world to work towards decreasing dependency on fossil fuels. We call for a moratorium on all new exploration for oil, gas, coal and uranium as a first step towards the full phase-out of fossil fuels, without nuclear power, with a just transition to sustainable jobs, energy and environment. We take this position and make this recommendation based on our concern over the disproportionate social, cultural, spiritual, environmental and climate impacts on Indigenous Peoples, who are the first and the worst affected by the disruption of intact habitats, and the least responsible for such impacts.
Dialogue is needed amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders and especially the public/civil society and their governments to re-evaluate a colonial law system that doesn’t work. A body of law needs to be developed that recognizes the inherent rights of the environment, of animals, fish, birds, plants, water, and air outside of their usefulness to humans.
This would address the question as to the law and rights of nature, however with the framework of indigenous natural laws or within the framework of indigenous Original Instructions. Most colonial western law limits nature and what North America Indigenous peoples term as the Circle of Life, as mere property or natural “resources” to be exploited.
Many Indigenous Peoples in Copenhagen at the UNFCCC COP 15 were demanding action; not false hopes and empty promises. Developed countries use tactics to continue carbon colonialism. As Indigenous Peoples, many of us are raising the bar. We are mobilizing with social movements, workers, women, youth, small farmers and the business sector with a consciousness for social responsibility and will make demands in Cancun at the COP 16 and beyond Cancun to South Africa in 2011 and the Rio +20 in 2012 the most stringent emission target reductions and real solutions. As Indigenous Peoples, we are the guardians of Mother Earth, and making principled stands for the global well-being of all people and all life.
On my mother’s bloodline, I am On my mother’s bloodline, I am Dine’, an indigenous tribal nation spanning from Alaska, throughout Canada to the southwestern region of the United States. The deep profound spiritual concepts of Mother Earth and Father Sky being part of us as the Dine’ and the Dine’ being part of Mother Earth and Father Sky is woven into our “Way-Of-Being” even before we are born, when we are in the womb of our birth mother. It is our belief the Dine’ must treat this sacred bond with love and respect without exerting dominance for we do not own our mother or father.
The four sacred elements of life: air, fire/light, water and earth in all their forms must be respected, honored and protected for they sustain life. These sacred elements cannot be owned and traded as property. We, the Dine’, the people of the Great Covenant, are the image of our ancestors and we are created in connection with all Creation. Mother
Earth and our place in the Universe embody deep thinking, what we call “Nahasdzaan doo Yadilhil bitsaadee beehaz’aanii” or in the closest English translation, “Natural Law”.
On the other side of my family, amongst our Dakota Oyate (People), we understand our relationship and responsibilities to the natural world and to all life – animate and inanimate. We have an expression concluding our prayers whereby we say, “Mitakuye Owasin”, in English translation meaning “All My Relations”. This saying defines the relational precepts we have towards recognizing the rights of Mother Earth, and all life, and the responsibilities we have to remember the responsibility of our place in creation.
REDD/REDD+ in the negotiations2
Many Indigenous Peoples are starting to call REDD/REDD+ “CO2lonialism of forests” or capitalism of the trees and air”. The newspaper The Australian calls it a “classic 21st century scam emerging from the global climate change industry.”
This is because in reality, REDD/REDD+ is bad for people, bad for politics and bad for the climate. It will inevitably give more control over Indigenous Peoples’ forests to state forest departments, loggers, miners, plantation companies, traders, lawyers, speculators, brokers, brokers, Washington conservation organizations and Wall Street, resulting in violations of rights, loss of livelihood – and, ultimately, more forest loss.
The reasons are simple. Industrialized-country governments and corporations will pay for the preservation of Indigenous Peoples’ forests only if they get something in return. What they want is rights over the carbon in those forests. They need those rights because they want to use them as licenses to continue burning fossil fuels – and thus to continue mining fossil fuels at locations like the Albertan Tar Sands in Canada, the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Niger Delta and Appalachian mountaintops in the United States. They will get those rights by making deals with – and reinforcing the power of – the people that they regard as having “authority” over the forests, or whoever is willing and able to steal forests or take them over using legal means. These people are the very governments, corporations and gangsters who have time and again proved their contempt for the rights and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples. The result is bound to be new and more extensive forms of elite appropriation of Indigenous and other territories.
REDD/REDD+ can’t be fixed by attempts to detach it from the carbon markets
Existing REDD/REDD+ projects have already set in motion this transfer of power, nor is there any way that REDD/REDD+ can be “fixed” to alter these political realities. It can only reinforce them. For well-meaning environmentalists to deny this is to indulge in a very dangerous naiveté.
First and foremost, REDD/REDD+ is – and is always in danger of being – a component of carbon markets. While many of the details of REDD/REDD+ are being worked out by well intentioned economists, lawyers, environmental NGOs, and forest conservationists and technicians with no particular commitment to carbon markets, the money behind it was always going to come mainly from industrialized countries and large corporations looking for more pollution licenses to enable them to delay action on climate change. Even among the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, the consensus is already clear: finance for REDD/REDD+ projects will come from carbon markets.
If REDD/REDD+ plans go forward, billions of tonnes of demand for trade-able REDD/REDD+ pollution licenses will be generated by UN-backed carbon markets including the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme, bilateral agreements and the voluntary market. Even the technical structure of REDD/REDD+ reflects its market orientation: REDD/REDD+ posits a numerical climatic equivalence between saving forests and reducing the burning of fossil fuels.
This equation is indefensible scientifically; its only function is to make different things trade-able in order to generate fossil fuel pollution licenses.3 A non-market REDD/REDD+ would not need to claim this false equivalence between biotic and fossil carbon.
As an alternative to the carbon market mechanisms of REDD/REDD+, there is an emerging movement of friendly countries, NGOs and Indigenous Peoples organizations (IPOs) proposing a hypothetical REDD/REDD+ that is not connected with the carbon markets. However, these strategic and tactical solutions are risky with no guarantees that these proposals will end up being pushed aside by the more powerful actors with a stake in developing this prospective trillion-dollar market.4 To act as if REDD/REDD+ might someday be financed by a repayment of the ecological debt the North owes the South, or by a benevolent fund using public or non-market donations, could be naive. Red flags go up expressing the danger zones of blindly supporting REDD/REDD+, of any kind, as well as any attempt to “fix” REDD/REDD+, that would inevitably mean support for the carbon markets.
Assuming REDD/REDD+ is irretrievably linked with carbon markets, then at least three important conclusions follow:
(1) There is no way to stop REDD/REDD+ from dividing Indigenous and forest dependent communities from each other. Every time a forest dependent community signs a contract to provide pollution licenses for fossil fuel-dependent corporations, it will be potentially harming communities elsewhere who are suffering from the fossil fuel extraction or pollution for which those corporations are responsible. No possible reform or regulation of REDD/REDD+ could prevent this; it is built into its structure as a carbon market instrument.
Of course, it would be theoretically possible, with great effort, for Indigenous and forest dependent communities who wish to sign REDD/REDD+ contracts to secure the free, prior and informed consent of all the other communities elsewhere who would be harmed.
Many local communities of these forested areas have values respecting humanity and the concepts of the well-being of community, however, most members of these REDD/REDD+ projects have not been thoroughly informed of the offset reality on how these projects create toxic hotspots violating the indigenous and human rights of communities far away. But unless this consent is obtained in every case – and the list of communities across the globe who would need to be consulted would be huge with many REDD/REDD+ projects – REDD/ REDD+ is bound to pit community against community.
Already, a project using aboriginal North Australian Indigenous knowledge of fire management practices to generate pollution licenses for ConocoPhillips has provoked the following reaction from Casey Camp-Horinek, a tribal member of the Ponca indigenous nation in the US, which suffers from the actions of the company in North America: “Indigenous Peoples who participate in carbon trading are giving ConocoPhillips a bullet to kill my people.”5
(2) There is no way to stop REDD/REDD+ from dividing Indigenous and forest dependent communities who sign REDD/REDD+ contracts from other communities for whom climate change is a concern. As part of carbon markets, REDD/REDD+ will inevitably slow action on global warming; that is what carbon markets are structured to do.6 REDD/REDD+ will thus heighten climate dangers for Arctic, indigenous lands, small-island states and low-lying and coastal communities, as well as, eventually, everyone else. Again, no possible reform of REDD/ REDD+ could prevent the damage it would do to the climate cause, as long as it is linked to carbon trading. Pretending that such reforms are possible only perpetuates the damage. The very structure of REDD/REDD+ makes it impossible that it could ever be made “Indigenous-friendly”.
(3) There is no way to stop REDD/REDD+ from being a speculative plaything of the financial markets – to the detriment of the climate and human rights alike. Already, the biggest investors in carbon credits are not companies that need them in order to meet their government-regulated pollution targets.7
REDD/REDD+ can’t be fixed by trying to ensure that the money “goes to the right place” REDD/REDD+ proponents often assert that, even though REDD/REDD+ may be bad for the climate, at least it will be good for forests because it will channel large sums of money to nature conservation and biodiversity protection. Leaving aside, for the moment, the difficulty that any program that accelerates global warming will also accelerate forest destruction, this is to overlook the historical lesson that every proposal to solve the problem of deforestation and forest degradation through large sums of money has failed.8
We all have a voice, we all have a gift to share… don’t miss Ta’Kaiya Blaney
Over 1400 Aboriginal Youth attended Gathering Our Voices 2012 held in Nanaimo, BC. Spoken words by 11 year old Ta’Kaiya Blaney along with her memorable performance “Earth Revolution” was emotional and motivating.
Aline Jenckel interviews, TOM B.K. GOLDTOOTH, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network
For complete interview visit http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=107733
UNITED NATIONS, May 9, 2012 (IPS) – For centuries, indigenous peoples and their rights, resources and lands have been exploited. Yet long overdue acknowledgment of past exploitation and dedicated efforts by indigenous peoples have done little to end or prevent violations of the present, stated indigenous leaders in the Manaus Declaration of 2011.
The declaration, part of preparations for the upcoming U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, frequently referred to as Rio+20, in June, recounted the “active participation” of indigenous groups in the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and similar efforts in 2002 that led to the adoption of the term “indigenous peoples” for the United Nations (U.N.) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Despite this work, “the continuing gross violations of our rights…by governments and corporations” remain major obstacles to sustainable development, the declaration continued. “Indigenous activists and leaders defending their territories still continue to be harassed, tortured, vilified as ‘terrorists’ and assassinated by powerful vested interests.”
As Rio+20 approaches, IPS interviewed Tom B.K. Goldtooth, who has been an activist for social change in Native American communities for more than three decades and is the executive director of Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), an alliance of indigenous peoples that combats the exploitation and contamination of the earth and will participate in the Rio+20 conference.
Goldtooth called for a “new paradigm of laws that redefine humanity and its governance relationship to the sacredness of Mother Earth and the natural world”.
The activist explained that the most effective measures for reducing deforestation, protecting the environment from unsustainable mineral extraction and preserving a better world for future generations are to strengthen international, national and sub-national frameworks for collectively demarcating and titling indigenous peoples’ territories.
U.N. Correspondent Aline Jenckel spoke with Tom Goldtooth about the main threats faced by indigenous peoples and how the Rio+ 20 conference could be a success.
Q: At the Rio+20 conference in June, you will speak on behalf of indigenous peoples and their human rights, in terms of protecting their natural environment and creating sustainable development. What is the key message you hope to convey?
A: The thematic discussion of green economy and sustainability creates differences in views between the money-centred Western views and our indigenous life-centred worldview of our relationship to the sacredness of Mother Earth.
Many of our indigenous peoples globally are deeply concerned with the current economic globalisation model that looks at Mother Earth and nature as a resource to be owned, privatised and exploited for maximised financial return through the marketplace.
With this development model, indigenous peoples continue to be displaced from their lands, cultures and spiritual relationship to Mother Earth, and destruction to the life-sustaining capacity of nature and the ecosystem that sustains us and all life continues as well.
For the sake of humanity and the world as we know her, to survive, there must be a new paradigm of laws that redefine humanity and its governance relationship to the sacredness of Mother Earth and the natural world.
This includes the integration of the human-rights based approach, ecosystem approach and culturally- sensitive and knowledge-based approaches. The world must forge a new economic system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings.
We can only achieve balance with nature if there is equity among human beings.
At Rio+20, global governments must look cautiously at any green economy agenda that supports the commodification and financialisation of nature and take concerted action to initiate the development of a new framework that begins with a recognition that nature is sacred and not for sale and that the ecosystems of our Mother Earth have jurisprudence for conservation and protection.
Full recognition of land tenure of our place-based indigenous communities are the most effective measures for protecting the rich biological and cultural diversity of the world.
For complete interview visit http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=107733
Indigenous leaders Marlon Santi and Patricia Gualinga of Sarayacu, Ecuador traveled to Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence Kansas to participate in the Rights of Mother Earth Restoring Indigenous Life Ways of Responsibility and Respect in April, 2012.
The two leaders shared the bold movement by the peoples of Sarayacu and of Ecuador to protect their natural ecosystems and their stand for Rights of Nature with the Indigenous Peoples of the North.