Indigenous Peoples Are One with Mother Earth

June 04, 2021

Every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football stadium and over the last century, we have destroyed half of our wetlands. As much as 50 percent of our coral reefs have already been lost and up to 90 percent of coral reefs could be lost by 2050, even if global warming is limited to an increase of 1.5°C.

Ecosystem loss is depriving the world of carbon sinks, like forests and peatlands, at a time when humanity can least afford it. Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown for three consecutive years and the planet is suffering from the impacts of climate change.

The emergence of COVID-19 has also shown just how disastrous the consequences of ecosystem loss can be. By shrinking the area of natural habitat for animals, we have created ideal conditions for pathogens, including coronaviruses, to spread.

With this challenging picture, World Environment Day is focused on ecosystem restoration and its theme for 2021 is “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.”

Cultural Survival speaks to Nelson Ole Reiya from the Nashulai Conservancy in Kenya, who tell us how the Maasai People make soap from elephant dung!

 

Indigenous Peoples around the world have always been innovative in finding ways to use their environment to their advantage while respecting Mother Earth at the same time. June 5th is World Environment Day, and in this podcast, we speak to Nelson Ole Reiya from the Nashulai Conservancy in Kenya, who will tell us how to make soap from elephant dung!

 
Indigenous Peoples play a crucial role in conservation of the environment and ecosystems, as their survival very much depends on the water, land, and natural resources. Indigenous Peoples are often called the custodians or stewards of the Earth. It is estimated that 25 percent of earth land surface is occupied, owned, and managed by Indigenous Peoples. This is no coincidence as Indigenous cultures are rooted in relationships with lands and territories.
 
A close relationship with local environments and ecosystems is more critical than ever in the face of a rapidly changing climate. This program features two perspectives from Indigenous communities that are practicing resiliency to global warming by adapting their traditional knowledge and science to put a changing climate into the context of their communities' history and lifeways.
Natural Justice - Lawyers For Communities and The Environment
For many African communities, lands and natural resources are their greatest and most reliable service providers, sustaining life, dignity, and happiness. Their stewardship of the ecosystems on which they depend is also recognized as one of the most important contributions to nature conservation, with the lands and waters of Indigenous Peoples and local communities supporting approximately 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Unfortunately, the rights of these communities are often undermined by the ever-increasing demand for land and resources, negatively impacting their ways of life and degrading the environment.
Indigenous Science is Needed to Change Course for the Planet
What is the role of Indigenous Peoples in the current climate crisis? What responsibility do Indigenous Peoples feel towards Mother Earth today? Listen to three Indigenous women leaders give their perspectives on their feeling of the interconnection between all living things and our planet in the face of climate change, and what they feel should be done with that knowledge.
 
 
Indigenous communities in Honduras have stewarded the Muskitia, a rain forest that includes one of the richest concentrations of biodiversity in the world, for centuries. Osvaldo Munguia is a representative of MOPAWI, an organization that partners with Indigenous groups to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site from being overtaken by logging, mining, and forestry business interests.

 

Top photo: Members of the #Indigiwalk To Save The Okavango Delta Team in Cape Town, South Africa.