One of the most pressing issues we, as humans together, are confronted is climate change. How do we live without damaging the environment, without hurting other forms of life, and without threatening minority groups?
One of the minority groups that suffered the most from human-induced climate change is indigenous people living in the rainforest. With Increasing rate of deforestation, mass scale of cattle ranching, as well as extensive mining, oil, and gas extractions, indigenous communities are forcefully displaced from their land which had sustained their ways of living for thousands of years. For non-indigenous people, land might be a commodity, an asset with natural resources to be exploited, however, indigenous communities almost always form a distinct spiritual, social, and cultural connection with their land.
In indigenous philosophy, land is a sacred entity; it is the mother of all. Every aspect of of indigenous lives is connected to it. People depend on land to grow crops, gather and hunt food, build homes and expand their families. Land has always been an essential part of indigenous people’s collective identities. Some of the most important relationships from indigenous perspective are those relations to communities, to nature, to land, and to all the living things. This unique collective relation also gives indigenous people the responsibility to protect their land.
The health of land is vital in indigenous world view. Indigenous leaders do not shy away when it is time to protect their homes and our earth; their responsibility to the land motivates them to fight back against illegal logging, oil pipeline, and other illicit commercial exploitation of rainforest.