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[VIDEO] Indigenous People Support Rights of Nature

August 21, 2012 | By Ana Yglesias

Thumbnail image courtesy of The Federation of Light

At the Indigenous Environmental Network's (IEN) Indigenous Rights of Mother Earth Conference, Tom Goldtooth, Director of the IEN, asserted that "Mother Earth gives us life." He also points out that our current governmental structures are destroying this Nature which offers us life.

Say No to the Green Economy!

Goldtooth later highlights REDD as one of these destructive structures. REDD and REDD+ allow companies to pollute as long as they buy carbon offsets. This is bad for Mother Earth and humankind because it creates negative externalities for the communities where pollution occurs and puts price tags on Nature and her processes. REDD and REDD+ (ironically) supposedly blend indigenous knowledge and modern climate science technology, yet a majority of indigenous peoples support Rights of Nature instead. Rights of Nature grants Mother Nature inalienable rights (as a living being): to live free of cruel treatment, and to be able to function her life-supporting role.

REDD and REDD+ are an example of the a Green Economy scheme, as they are a commodification of Nature. The Rio+20 outcome document sadly supported the Green Economy, so advocating for Rights of Nature as a better alternative for all is vital. Learn more about Rights of Nature versus the Green Economy from one of our previous blog posts.

Uniting the Eagle and the Condor

As Marlon Santi of the Sarayaku people of the Ecuadorian Amazon states, it is time for the eagle and the condor to unite. The eagle and the condor is an ancient indigenous prophesy that splits society into two paths; the eagle as one of the rational head and the masculine, and the condor as one of the spiritual heart and the feminine. The eagle has come to represent "modern" world thought and the condor represents indigenous thought. The prophesy points to this period as an opportunity for the eagle and the condor to unite, but it is up to us to ensure that this occurs. Green Economy schemes are NOT a way to do this, but implementing Rights of Nature into law, as Ecuador has done, is. As Sharon Biggs of The Global Exchange asserts, communities need more legal rights to protect their land, and Rights of Nature will fulfill that!

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