The indigenous people of the Amazon people have suffered from “development” in the form of mining and farming of commercial crops on their ancestral land. Their rivers that provided drinking water and irrigation have been poisoned by mines, causing health problems and birth of deformed livestock. The land is left infertile after being planted with coffee and cocoa. They do not have titles to their ancestral land, which makes it impossible to fight squatters, or those given titles by the government. Many have been jailed, and four recently killed, in the battle for land titles.
Now, there are also climate change related problems. In the highlands, the glaciers that used to provide their water have melted back. The rainfall patterns have changed, making it difficult to tell the difference between summer and winter.
Among the indigenous people, it is the women who suffer the most, as men leave and the women are left to care for the land and the community. However, they didn’t come to the COP for sympathy. They announced that are not just victims, they are the ones with the traditional ecological knowledge of how to care for their land, and the economic, physical and spiritual relation with that land. They are the ones best suited to both mitigate (through reforestation) and to adapt to climate change.
They would like part of the climate change funds earmarked their countries to go to them for forest management, management of agricultural biodiversity (for a safe food supply). In Peru, for the first time, they have place at the COP dedicated to indigenous people. They are happy to start with that, but they are clear that they deserve funds, of which they have received none so far, in recognition of the work they have always done to care for the land, and in recognition of their being best suited to do so in the future.
Remind anyone of issues in Hawaii?