How are Indigenous rights connected to deforestation and climate change mitigation?
Studies have shown that Indigenous peoples are the best protectors of forests, and that when Indigenous peoples’ rights to autonomy and self-determination are respected, the territories they control remain biodiverse and intact. Given that deforestation is the second largest driver of climate change worldwide following fossil fuel extraction, prioritizing Indigenous rights is a crucial part of protecting the world’s rainforests, which are some of the most important strongholds for climate change mitigation.
Just as BIPOC people have been challenging the white supremacist legacy of slavery in the United States for centuries, Indigenous peoples in the Amazon have been fighting for centuries to defend their ancestral territories from colonialist exploitation and invasion. The exploitation of the Amazon today continues this pattern of colonialism and environmental racism. Almost all of the crude oil and agribusiness industries currently operating in the Amazon are owned and financed by European or U.S. corporations. This is why our work to get major financial institutions like BlackRock to stop financing the destruction of the Amazon is anti-colonialist and anti-racist work.