The importance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities for Nature

//The importance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities for Nature

The importance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities for Nature

Nature decline

Recently, a friend of mine passed me a media release from IPBES (the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) in which a reflexion on nature´s decline is given. I found the whole article shocking, but nothing that I have not heard yet. Nature is at risk, species are threatened with extinction at unprecedent rates and we are all contributing to its deterioration by following a model of existence that certainly seems that could end with the world we currently know.

However, even though this message has been passed again and again, it does not seem to trigger the necessary actions that will put the breaks to Nature´s decline. The one million species threatened to extintion, of the ones that have not being extinct yet, should be speaking for itself and lead to drastic changes. But since we, humans, are increasingly more disconnected from nature, this news seem to affect somebody else´s yard but not ours.

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

The media release continues with revealing data about the decline rate that our ecosystems are subject to, and send a call to action, to change, until it is too late. Nonetheless, it called my attention the importance given to the role that Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities play in preserving the land and sea regions they are guardians of. As the article states:

Nature managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities is under increasing pressure but is generally declining less rapidly than in other lands.

In conclussion, it seemst that they are doing better than the rest of the workd, don´t they? A minority of people and communities that generally lack economic resources, research centres, conservation programmes and so on are able to protect nature better than the biggest fraction of the world that counts with all those means. After reading these paragraphs, it only comes to my mind one simple reason. Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities care for nature more than we do. And this commitment to protect nature is probably due to their ability to see their connection with it, how the health of nature conditions their reality, and the direct effects that their actions have over the environment.

For this reason, aside from our efforts to protect nature, it seems paramount to take a step back, to listen and learn how these communities are taking care of nature. To analyse why we are not reacting fast enough, why we don´t seem worried enough. Apparently, we are not missing the means to stop nature´s decline, we are missing the perspective.

Extract from A Sea Turtle Lesson – which was produced to rasise awareness among indigenous communities of Cape York on sea turtles conservation, depicting drawings from children of the Western Cape College at Mapoon. Get further information on the book “A Sea Turtle Lesson”, by Mariana Fuentes.

2019-05-07T11:28:31+00:00 May 7th, 2019|Categories: environmental awareness and education|0 Comments

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