Although indigenous communities contribute the least to climate change, they are among those most dramatically impacted by it, because of their dependence on the land combined with social marginalization. But their land-based livelihoods, combined with traditional knowledge and federal laws, puts them on the front line of resistance against deforestation, extraction and exploitation of natural resources, and expansion of unsustainable agricultural practices. By practicing their traditional management techniques, like agroforestry systems and crop rotation, indigenous people prevent carbon emissions while safeguarding their traditional way of life. Given that indigenous and community-owned lands represent 18 percent of all land area, including at least 1.2 billion acres of forest, incorporating their practices into “modern” management protocols will help reduce emissions and preserve biodiversity and is why Project Drawdown ranks indigenous land management as the 39th best solution for fighting climate change.
This collection contains stories (see below) with examples of a range of indigenous peoples’ activities. In the Amazon rain forest, the Guajajara tribe is taking a stand against illegal logging and burning of the forest. In Ecuador, the Waorani people are using GPS to map their native lands to oppose oil extraction. In Colombia, the UN-sponsored REDD+ program is working through challenges to a system that exchanges compensation for conservation. In Indonesia, the village of Wae Rebo has turned from agriculture to ecotourism, securing a more stable and sustainable income, and in California, indigenous tribes are using traditional methods of prescribed burning to preserve land health while encouraging the growth of traditional foods and medicines, as well as revive traditional practices.
Our issue area taxonomy was adapted from the PCS Taxonomy with definitions by the Foundation Center, which is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International License.
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Fondriest Environmental, David De Wit / Community Eye Health, Linda Steil / Herald Post, John Amis / UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences – OCCS, Andy B, Peter Garnhum, Thomas Hawk, 7ty9, Isriya Paireepairit, David Berger, UnLtd The Foundation For Social Entrepreneurs, Michael Dunne, Burak Kebapci, and Forrest Berkshire / U.S. Army Cadet Command public affairs
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