Brick by Brick, Battle by Battle
Indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin, where pervasive resource extraction has accelerated the spread of COVID-19, are calling for nine countries to apply a moratorium on extractive activities to stop the "ecocide, ethnicide and terricide,” as was declared at the first World Assembly for the Amazon in July. According to the Pan-American Health Organization, the virus has infected at least 20,000 Indigenous people in the Amazon. Indigenous communities are the first line of defense for the Amazon rainforest, and we all depend on their efforts to protect it. In Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guyana and Suriname, Indigenous nations are working together to confront an immense array of threats caused by unconstrained extraction in their territories— toxic contamination, raging fires, loss of territory and biodiversity, climate change, and, now, infection.
The fight for a moratorium on extraction will not be won from the top down; Indigenous peoples can’t wait for governments to mandate an end to all extraction on their lands. Instead, Indigenous communities are launching and winning unprecedented legal and political battles to guard their rights and territories, amounting to millions of acres of Amazon rainforest saved and our global climate protected. You can see the power of the Indigenous movement in recent groundbreaking wins across the world— from the victory at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline to the Waorani victory against oil drilling in the Pastaza region of Ecuador. However, governments and corporations are continuing to exploit the world’s resources at alarming rates with great risk to Indigenous peoples.
Help us win an Amazon-wide moratorium on extraction from the ground up, brick by brick, until the governments of the region are forced to heed the wisdom of Indigenous peoples and usher in a new era rooted in their vision for a safer, healthier, and more sustainable world.