Are you a good ancestor?” This Earth Week, Waorani leader Nemonte Nenquimo from the Ecuadorian Amazon calls upon us to become guardians of nature for our planet and future generations. Nearly one year ago – on Sunday 26th April – Nenquimo helped to lead her people’s historic victory against Big Oil protecting a half million acres of primary rainforest in the Amazon, galvanizing indigenous movements’ efforts to halt the expanse of natural resource extraction across approximately seven million acres of mega-biodiverse rainforest.
This powerful animated short, created in collaboration with our allies Global Wildlife Conservation, is the third in their five-day series entitled “One Home”, celebrating the interconnectedness of all life on the planet for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In the midst of a global pandemic, Nenquimo continues to raise her voice to urge us to protect our world’s last wild places. An overwhelming body of scientific evidence has demonstrated what indigenous peoples already knew for thousands of years: healthy forests are vital for the health of our planet, and our shared existence and climate.
Tragically, indigenous peoples, who are on the frontlines of the battle to protect the Amazon, our world’s most important rainforest, fear ethnocide should the foreign disease cause a widespread outbreak in their territories. Nenquimo is one of the many leaders helping to organize indigenous communities’ response efforts to protect themselves from the highly contagious virus, which has devastated Ecuador. Numbers suggest the South American country is suffering one of the worst outbreaks in the world. Several indigenous communities, including within the Siekopai and Shuar nations, have reported recent deaths, which are suspected to be COVID-19 related – but the lack of access to tests in the country has not allowed for these deaths to be confirmed.
To support indigenous-led actions and solutions to the pandemic, we launched an “Amazon Emergency Action Fund (COVID-19)” campaign earlier this month, in partnership with indigenous organizations of the Ecuadorian Amazon. There’s still much support needed – click here to make a donation.