“There is no God bigger than the sun, the moon, the air and the water… No matter how tall our buildings get and how high in the sky we fly, if we don’t respect nature then it won’t respect us either.”- Sipa Melo, Idu Mishmi Shaman
On the International Day for Biodiversity 2020 we are celebrating Indigenous peoples and local communities who nurture Mother Earth by sharing their stories of care, resilience and revival.
This year’s International Day for Biodiversity will focus on the theme Our Solutions are in Nature. No one embodies this fact more than Indigenous peoples and local communities, who, through their deep connections with their territories, their worldviews and ways of life, show us how to nurture life on Earth.
Below we gather films, interactive stories and articles that share how Indigenous and local communities are caring for their territories, protecting endangered species and restoring whole ecosystems from Canada to Guatemala.
Join us in listening to and learning from their voices and experiences. Then take to social media to share these stories and tell us how you are taking action to nurture life today, using #NurtureLife and #InternationalBiodiversityDay.
Rekindling connection in Tahltan First Nation territory
“The land has its own spirit, its own personality. People need to make that connection with the land and with specific places; get to understand the spirit of that place.”– Curtis Rattray, Tahltan community leader.
For generations the Tahltan People lived and built their culture from what can be hunted, gathered, fished and quarried from their traditional territory in what is now Canada. Now, after over a century of colonisation that has caused severe intergenerational trauma, a new generation of community leaders are working with youth to revive their traditional ecological knowledge, restore ecosystems and meet the challenge of a changing climate.
Sleeping Children of the Mountains: Guatemala’s rare and secretive amphibians
In October 2017, Indigenous forest ranger Tomás Ramos León was patrolling the edge of Guatemala’s Yal Unin Yul Witz Protected Nature Reserve when he saw something that had not been witnessed by human eyes for over 40 years- the ‘golden wonder’, Jackson’s Climbing Salamander.
This story from Synchronicity Earth shares how Indigenous communities in Guatemala are playing a leading role in protecting the forest home of rare wildlife like the golden wonder, using both traditional knowledge and modern techniques.
Film: Youth Perspectives on Global Biodiversity Negotiations
In early 2020, three young women from the ICCA Consortium travelled to Rome to take part in a vital UN meeting about the global post-2020 conservation framework.
In this short video from the ICCA Consortium, Mihanta Tsiorisoa Bakoliarimisa, Tenzin Samten and Josefa Cariño Tauli share their experiences of the negotiations, the issues important to them, and their hopes for the future.
Custodians of Life: Reviving Culture and Nature in Uganda’s Great Lakes
The Indigenous Bagungu People of western Uganda have lived along the shores of Ithaka Mwitanzige (Lake Albert) since time immemorial. But colonialism and globalisation have damaged and repressed both the Bagungu’s traditional, Earth-centred culture and the ecosystems they rely upon.
Custodians of Life, a new film from Africa’s growing Earth Jurisprudence movement and The Gaia Foundation tells the story of how the Bagungu are reviving culture and Nature in their sacred homeland.
The Idu Mishmi people protecting India’s living forests
“We move our fields every few years so that the forest can grow back on the fallow land. This is how important the jungle is in our life…If you don’t save the forest, you will definitely perish no matter how much you may pray.”- Sipa Melo, Idu Mishmi Shaman
In September 2019, Idu shaman Sipa Melo and two other representatives from the Idu Mishmi community of northeastern India, travelled to the UK to take part in the Flourishing Diversity Talk Series. In a special ‘listening session’, Sipa and his fellow Idus talked about the Idu Mishmi’s sophisticated spiritual governance system, which has helped tigers and other endangered species to thrive in Idu traditional territory, even as they’ve struggled elsewhere.
Planting 10,000 Native Trees in Frojám, Galicia
Commons farmer and activist Joám Evans Pim has a tree in his heart. Lots of trees in fact. His small Galician community, Frojám, is on a mission to plant over 10,000 native trees on ancestral land that is shared by the whole community. This tree planting push is part of a wider campaign to heal and reclaim the land after decades of mining and mistreatment, and to fend off new threats.
In this new article for Radical Ecological Democracy, Joám tells Frojám’s remarkable story of resistance and revival, including how they have declared their lands an Indigenous and Community Conserved Area (ICCA).
Tell the UN to include Rights of Nature in post-2020 conservation plans
The campaign for Rights of Mother Earth is lobbying the UN to include Rights of Nature in the post-2020 conservation framework, giving it the legal teeth to defend Nature’s inherent rights to exist, to health and to evolution.
You can help make this a reality by sending a simple, pre-written letter to your country representatives at the UN!
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