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Indigenous Peoples Hold the Key to Saving Earth | SXSW 2021

Nemonte Nenquimo
Member at Waorani nation from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador
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SXSW 2021
March 16, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
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Indigenous Peoples Hold the Key to Saving Earth | SXSW 2021
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About speakers

Nemonte Nenquimo
Member at Waorani nation from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador
Julia Jackson
Founder at Grounded.org

Nemonte Nenquimo is an Indigenous activist and member of the Waorani nation from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador. She is the first female president of the Waorani of Pastaza (CONCONAWEP) and co-founder of the Indigenous-led nonprofit organization Ceibo Alliance. In 2020, she was named in the Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, the only Indigenous woman on the list and the second Ecuadorian to ever be named in its history. In recognition of her work, in 2020 the United Nations Environment Programme gave her the "Champions of the Earth" award in the category Inspiration and Action.[1]Nenquimo was the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Ecuadorian government, which culminated in a 2019 ruling that protects half a million acres of Waorani ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from oil drilling.

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Grounded is a hub for identifying and accelerating scalable climate change solutions by galvanizing a community of environmental change agents, world leaders, indigenous peoples, mindfulness experts, award-winning authors, scientific researchers, technological innovators & investors

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About the talk

For centuries, Indigenous communities have served as guardians of the environment, protecting nature, respecting flora and fauna, and using traditional knowledge and wisdom passed down over generations. They safeguard 80% of biodiversity left in the world, which is key to turning around the climate crisis, as biodiverse areas are major carbon sinks.This panel features Nemonte Nenquimo, a leader from the Waorani community in Ecuador and founding member of Indigenous-led nonprofit organization Ceibo Alliance and Amazon Frontlines. She is in conversation with Julia Jackson, Founder of Grounded.org, about why climate philanthropy must be reimagined to protect the future of our planet, by directing resources to indigenous communities who are at the frontlines of our climate emergency.

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Hi. I'm Julia Jackson and I'm here today for a fireside chat with my friend and watching him chemo and her lovely husband. Call lechuga, Lake Waccamaw Hospital in San Jose. Hi Julia. So good to see you in a long time since we've seen each other and I'm here in the Ecuadorian Amazon, I'm really excited to talk with you. It's really an honor to speak with both of you. About one of the most critical issues facing Humanity. for those of you that don't know, an Archer run on Amazon Frontline,

which is an amazing organization and nonprofit dedicated to The conservation of one of our largest carbon sinks, if not, the largest carbon sink on Earth. The Amazon. Demonte at, I believe it was at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gala and, The climate in general, the very privileged space with not a lot of diversity. and The more I've learned about the solutions to The Climate crisis, the more I recognize But the most important solution is to protect or 5.

Immunity. I was really inspired. About the concept of reciprocity living in Harmony and Stewart in the actual World on behalf of the survival of humanity. I founded a nonprofit organization grounded. Org dedicated to supporting solution us. Climate pushing us around the world. Demonte really inspired me a few years ago when I met her. She stood out at the scalp. And I was privileged space as the most refreshing voice to me. And I think as a western civilization, we have a lot to learn.

From indigenous knowledge leadership, wisdom stewardship and how to walk with the Earth and not take from the earth. So I I fell in love with my mom today and Mitch and their daughter died me right away and connection to Our shared purpose and I would love if you guys could share the vision of Amazon front lines and all the amazing work you are doing today. Banana in La Vida da loca loca. You look up getting a little but I know. So it's nice that Mister B. Brass indigenous, peoples, thousands of years protecting mother protecting our forests are rivers living in harmony with nature, protecting the

wildlife. As a young woman, who is that the economic system of capitalism? Giant corporations are hell-bent on extracting resources from our forests, they don't see our forces are forced to live to see. Dustin packs. because 20% of the world's oxygen comes from the Amazon and currently 5% of all Global greenhouse gases are sequestered by the Amazon and so it's really important for us to recognize how critical Amazon front lines work is to conserve biodiversity

It must be. But I'm still waiting a combined. Yeah, the protection of the Amazon is is about the protection of our clients. About the protection of the entire planet, and Indigenous peoples, can't fight continue to protect our territory and go up against economic interests, you do. And that's why he now has a reader of my people. I've been very vocal and making connections globally with people like yourself and others and really asking for support and making sure that the world knows that indigenous. Peoples need Global allies. That can support them, that can drive

resources through our struggles Nest finder, thankful to be honest conversation, Can you share? Some of the challenges. The why running people's have faced since covid? And if before a station has decreed that has sorry increased since covid or decreased. Buena Indian to rent this month. During the pandemic, what we saw as a big economic interest in the government instead of supporting us, helping us. They really start to take advantage of the situation. I'm all our peoples were, I'm really dealing with the arrival of this new sickness. What we saw was the oil

companies. I'm continuing to extract oil, certain areas of condition territories. And what we saw is also a network of illegal loggers on entering their territory than trying to take advantage of the pandemic, on the lack of environmental regulations to to extract resources from our land for the where I meet people and for indigenous people, to cross the Amazon. Really, what we saw during the pandemic was how little we can trust the government and corporations and how much we can trust our own territory and how much faith we need to have in our own

knowledge. Because in the end, it wasn't West. Doctors or hospitals or the Ecuadorian government that was able to save us. During this pandemic, it was our own knowledge and it was our territory. We were able to cure ourselves and heal ourselves with our sister medicine. That's the big lesson that we learned during covid-19. And diversity as well as a hub for other other diseases, and it's just a natural. Process of ecological biodiversity that there are other future pandemics that could spread

if we do not protect biodiversity. So not only is it important for climate and keeping global temperatures. That it's also very important to protect biodiversity as well for our own Survival and the correlation between teacher Global pandemics and they onslaught of diversity and destruction of Mother Earth are directly linked. And so it's important for people to understand how critical protecting this price. It's for our house and our future. Can you share a little bit about How many

contacts for everyone? How many acres there are in the Amazon? And how many acres is stable? Alliance has been able to protect What has made your efforts successful? This is Eli Metro numero, California. Sell silver bells in percentage. Daphne Zuniga. Why can't talk about how many kilometers, or how many miles from Biggby? Amazon is because I'm already woman and I don't know about how many miles there are in the Amazon. What I do know is I travel to California and I know how big is California's and I heard that the Amazon is about ten times

the size of California. And what I know also is that right now with the pandemic, we're living in an economic crisis, and governments and industries, don't care about the forest. They don't care about the birds and the rivers and lizards and frogs in all of the wild life in the forest. I don't care about where any people indigenous knowledge systems, or care about what is extracting resources from our land and what I my message to the world is we can't wait any longer we can't let just indigenous peoples fight this. I tried to protect our territories alone against the

big companies and against the global economic system, we need allies. We need people that can join us and invest resources to people several misses, you know, for the future of, you know, our children, it's for Mother Earth. It's for around, fine at change. I'm going to surround stopping to endemic skin. That's what my struggle is about, as what indigenous people that fighting for today. I think one thing you guys, obviously understands the urgency of the climate crisis and how little time we have to turn

this around currently, there's an abundance of global greenhouse gas emissions, concentrated in our atmosphere and no technology will be able to reverse this crisis. If we destroy the planet, we need the planet. And we need our biosphere to be intact, and these ecosystems, to remain pristine, and abundant and biodiversity to help offset all of the emissions that we are releasing. I was reading that Amazon Amazon alarms to Van 76 billion tonnes of CO2, not only

with warming temperatures, and the destruction from extractive Industries, are we? Destroying a carbon sink that is helping us survive as a species for also releasing carbon stored underground and so the Amazon is way more efficient than any technology out there for a collective survival as a species. And so I really love the work you guys are doing because it's one of the most successful but efforts to to preserve a carbon sink that song is so critical for all of our

survival and we can't take Indigenous stewardship, knowledge, and Leadership out of that to go hand in hand. So can you speak to why it's so critical that the world really gets behind. The work, you're doing and Indigenous communities, really are the rightful caretakers and Guardians, not just the Amazon planet Earth. when I say is important, Nadeau. The answer is really simple. People that are living in cities and people from industrial civilization has had

lost important connections with mother has lost very important connections with nature, have lost that relationship without a balance and Indigenous peoples that continue to live in their territories and continue to live in intact systems like ourselves. Have that relationship, we respect your best life insurance, you respect us, but that's not what's happening. I'm in the rest of the world today and so a lot of the search for new technologies to stop the climate crisis

you are missing the point in a lot of ways because Siri is really simple. It's about changing our relationship with And you're overseeing it today. You know, in the middle of climate crisis in the middle of a pandemic, out of balance relationship with our planet, really. Demonstrated by the fact that governments and companies in an industrial civilization, you know, continues to try to invade deeper into additional territories in remote regions across the Amazon in order to continue extract fossil fuels and polluted rivers, in order for us, to the

people of the cities, to drive in the car. And, you know, that really is about a relationship is out of balance business. People have a lot to offer the world in that regard. Our mutual friend, Justin Winters. That's how we met each other. She's a dear friend and she recently launched a global safety net which is a a framework backed by a lot of different climate scientists that shows that in the next decade we have to protect not 30% of the planet by 20-30.

But 50% of the planet 30% of 37% of the 50%, we must protect is occupied by indigenous communities without empowering indigenous. Communities to protect these, these carbon sinks and I I believe we should actually give land back that was taken away because indigenous communities know how to increase by the varsity and properly Steward Mother Earth. So it can't just be confined to that percentage. We need A different values that I think as much as we're in a global

climate crisis were also in a moral crisis. And we forgotten our place on this planet and we're not separate from Mother Earth. We are Mother Earth. And so I think that the work you guys are doing is critical. And I would love for you guys to share some of the legal work you have done because I think in order to really have a guardrail and extractive industries in check we have to have legal reform because right now, even with the Paris agreement, biodiversity is a whole other convention on climate change and biodiversity, you

can't separate them. It's basically a failed system and it might be controversial for me to say that. But I see it as just lip service and only two countries, Morocco. And we're actually going to be abiding by their Paris agreement commitments. So we can't do this without legal reform. That's why I'm a little side becoming adopted in the international criminal court as the fifth crime against humanity because nothing, there's nothing protecting. Us as Earth citizens right now, from extractive Industries, coming in. And a lot of people feel like this is out

of my control and I have no say. And so you guys and your work is vital because a lot of people live without knowing what's happening to the Amazon which impacts all of us, but we can't do this without some sort of legal reform, weather Tito side or rights of nature. So, can you see how you guys have had success with? What's the weather gation and holding these corporations accountable and and why you think that? Really securing these territories is important to have that fat legal side to support you. When I say Lucia

casinos, Northwest Elementary, possibly looking for piano solo, silver bear, David Doremus, s importante. La Vida, La Selva de vida. Process of a city block. What's? We have a big experience protecting the half-million Acres of our rainforest. Primary rainforest, the most biodiverse rainforest on the family, our home, our ancestral territory from oil drilling, and we use the law to do. So I'm at the way it started was we created a map of our territory because we realized that we know our land and we know what it's worth. The value that is has the value of the cast for the

world but was cleared the governments and people around the world didn't and we wanted to show that there are two big ones. There is a vision about the forest as a life-giving home for indigenous peoples and for the World Wildlife and there's a vision of government Glock 22 and we're planning to confession it off the international oil industry. And so we gathered together with our elders, to create a territory to show the world, how important are landing.

And also, as a tool for our own people to self-govern into manager territory, best way to understand the threats that are territory bases. Used legal strategies, in order to ensure that the government couldn't violate our rights with the internationally-recognised bring on a structure in machines and drill wells in our territory. Flute Royal Forest. The same time, you know we were exercising our economy and our self-determination your elders have been protecting our

lands fears for centuries and now our youth are learning new tools, like nothing and like litigation strategy, communication strategies to protect our territory in set, an enormous precedent oil drilling. But also setting a precedent for indigenous Nations across Ecuador and across the Amazon to do the same indigenous. Peoples are the owners of huge tracks when I have the right to decide what happens in our territory. And we need to be able to exercise that, right?

And that's really the value of our legal work, is to ensure that there are good presidents that other indigenous Nations around the world can use in order to continue to protect her. Begin short-sighted Economic Development. Yeah, a lot of Industries are very short-sighted and are putting profits ahead of the survival of our species. For me, it's very simple. If we don't have a planet, there will be no profit to be made by any Corporation and so it's actually

in their best interest to stop these destructive extractive practices. Not to keep rattling off statistics, but something that really bothered me as a philanthropist in the beginning. I was getting two different types of causes like cancer. My father died of cancer and then I learned through Justin, actually, that less than 2% of all philanthropic giving worldwide and it's still this percentage today goes to the environment 2%. I'm still in traffic. Capital is reaching communities on the ground so we have barely any money going towards the protection of our planet.

We need to scale philanthropic giving and all sectors of society really because it can't just rest upon the private sector. We need all hands on deck really unacceptable reaching communities on the ground. so, I think your guys is working is vital on to the survival of our species and I would love for you to share how you think it can be scaled and what you need from the world to really get behind your work. Gorman weather. Bella Vita format. I really think your question is so important and I just want to say to start that, you know, last year, after winning a victory against the

oil industry in protecting and 1/2 acres of our people's territory and setting a precedent for indigenous rights to receive many different Awards. I received awards from the United Nations and was included in the time 100 list, but I also received the prize from Goldman environmental foundation and it was the first time that I've ever received the prize like that. But it came with $200,000 is the price for me at the leader who helped lead my people to protect our land. For what I knew is that I wasn't alone in this fight and that our

victory was collected. It was a, it was a battle that we won altogether, our elders, women, our ancestors. And so what I did was, I decided to donate $200,000 to the protection of the Amazon. And with Amazon front light, in the stable line, we launched the campaign recognizing that your statistics recognizing that around the world. There's very little donations going to fight climate change and all those donations. Very few who actually ever make it to local communities into indigenous peoples that are putting our

lives on the line. And I'm invading strategies to protect rivers, and forests, protect the biggest carbon sinks in the world and the resources you start getting there. And thank you for, for recognizing that. We're doing is important critical because we're building models for how indigenous peoples can continue to protect their territories 21st century against all of these threats. And it's not just about winning a legal battle against the oil industry. But really, it's about

building capacity alliances and Power on the ground for indigenous people, so that we can continue to flourish and prosper in our territories and continue to protect the lungs of the Earth are my organization with the warranty people. You know we're working on building young leaders were working on youth education and making sure that are used to the territory in understanding of our culture and and spending time with the elders, but also going up with the tools that they need to defend our lands.

Manage another confusing threats that were facing from the outside world. We're working to empower women. We're working to create man, controls and strategies in our territories. And so a lot of the work that we're doing, you know, it's about how we can build models that other indigenisation can follow, how come you steal our work week and support to cross the Amazon building in some of the things that have been successful here in the effort in the Sun. And, you know, for me knowing you love your look, make sure you understand

equal systems in our climate important for you. Struggles to support our work, and I hope that you will support, support indigenous communities around the world. And hopefully, the people that are watching will also do the same, I hope to completely in the past, I was giving two different environmental organizations and I've decided that I'm moving forward. I only want to focus on indigenous LED efforts and litigation Earth, litigation efforts, because I think those two are the most important Solutions we have. I

know that Elon Musk recently tweeted. I'll give a hundred million dollars to whomever and invents the best carbon capture and Technology, but we already have it. It's the Amazon minutes. Other bottle diverse regions across the planet and if we if we really want to Help continue to sequester and offset Rising global temperatures. We really need to preserve our Amazon for us and we can't do it without the guardianship in leadership of indigenous communities.

Definitely Intercultural dialogue between Youth and Elders is really important. And can you share and how important it is to and why it's so important to educate you to continue these values? What time is it is it? Is it. What is it? Everything that you said Yulia is so important. In you do for us what we're seeing right now is, you know, a lot of the threats, a lot of the last of territory over the years, I really affecting our culture. And so, what you're saying, is, in areas across the Amazon that are living in more

degraded Forest, surrounded by roads, are surrounded by cities are losing their language, they're losing their songs, your songs are. Your language is dying, Removing their knowledge in the end that is what makes us such a connection. And I love for the sport, put our bodies in their lives, on the line to protect their territory. And so is the importance of investing in veterans, veterans of the transfer of Knowledge, from the elders, to the youth. And there's many different strategies that were

deployed to ensure that happens from working to overhaul. The current education system. I'm so that our kids have the opportunity to learn about our knowledge, systems are high in system of our way, of, our way of life in the forest, that the elders can participate in the education office. That way, you know, we're all so, you know really working with the elders to transfer down, all the Practical for skills that used to losing you needed for survival in the forest, sounds in order to heal and cure ourselves of plant medicines in order to hunt in an ordered fish.

Until we're really using a whole range of a strategies and we're piloting. A lot of different, I'm smaller projects in communities to find the right models. I'm to ensure that I'm arguing continuing to say connected to the forest. We were only contacted by Western Civilization, 60 years ago, when we're already seeing a lot of our cultural knowledge being lost. We also realize how important it is to learn Western knowledge systems and have a really good Western education, so we're really focusing on that as a way of ensuring that we don't go

over. Cultural Tipping Point where indigenous peoples lose our cultural. And it feels like such a heart face connection, the whole concept of reciprocity and that we're all one and interconnected and interdependent is very shared among indigenous communities, but the Western world seems to forget. That in order to really be a steward of our environment. It has to come from the heart. I think the climate conversation and efforts are very cerebral. We also need to learn

how to properly live in harmony with the natural world and Steward it from an indigenous perspective, I would feel much more comfortable sleeping at night. If I knew there were more indigenous leaders than office in Business Leaders, really showing us the way and how to protect the planet and I hope to join you guys in this lifelong journey. For me, the climate crisis is very personal. I lost my house and everything in it to the Kincade fire and impacts of the climate crisis. First and, it's really a question of our

survival at this point, if we don't step up and protect the Amazon We will not make it as a species. We have to defend these territories. I see it. I know we have no choice. So thank you guys so much for your work. I see that's the most critical work we could be doing and I hope for everyone watching this. That you check out Amazon front lines and learn more about why, the Amazon is so important why it's more efficient than any today. It's just most important as the protection of our biosphere. Biodiversity life,

love of the natural world, love each other and reclaiming human dignity. and going back to more empathy in connection with each other. Because I think that a lot of people are lost and they're looking for guidance and they're looking for leadership. And so I really look up to both of you and your efforts. And I will walk with you guys the rest of my life. I plan on it. Junior. Thank you so much for your words and, and for me, love is always been. So, of course, you know, behind

struggle to protect the Amazon, My Love for the Amazon, My Love for my culture, it's never weekend, it's only grown until you're right. We need, we need love for life, love for mother nature, in order to win this battle, but we also need to be strategic, and I need to build alliances and we need to, we need to work together in order to defend our territories, Amazon Mother Nature, we're going to survive this conversation. Thank you guys. I think I would like to end on speaking a little bit about the Jaguar, Mitch since you're

wearing a Jaguar shirt and life of different species in the Amazon. I know we only have a few minutes but if you guys Why is species the different species of humans on Earth? And why we must protect them. Can I see animals natural message, Lisa, Cimino? Are we in a mental institution? Animals in the forest. I mean, first off. Animals are always there, even the animals of the forest, as those, who are essentially the entire Amazon, rainforest animals are, you know, we're always wearing their just speaking

to us, their connecting connecting with us in our dreams and, you know, I can tell a story about right before the pandemic. We went through March and keep them for a right in front of the Supreme Court. And when we returned, there was a pack of wild boar who had fluid. I said, animals have died here because there's going to be across the world in these wild boar. In our culture. We knew that endemic was coming before it actually happened and sore breasts. On the

wildlife of the Amazon is the essence of the Forest, River Station, Amazon, frontline.org, Animo, and the stable Alliance are really To me, the most impactful organization working to protect and Steward the Amazon. So check out Amazon front line and get get behind it, and support it. And then, if you would like to check out the launch of our digital Summit, we were an in-person Summit AT grounded, but now our dividend to an online Summit. We will be launching so you can do so much for this conversation.

Nasty-ass my voice. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for going. Rock Quarry.

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