A behind-the-scenes look at a full day of the World Heritage Committee session.
When I was 10 year old, I told my dad that my dream job was to become a political activist. There was just something about shouting on the streets that intrigued me. Obviously, my dad (who worked tirelessly as an architect) said, "No Dewy. You can't be an activist. You're going to be a lawyer."
A decade later, my dream of marching finally came true. Thanks to AYLI's Rachel Dobric and Adopt a Negotiator tracker, David Tong's protest tips and advices, I took on the streets of Lima for the People's Climate March.
The People's Climate March in Lima was vibrant, loud and purposeful. Indigenous people, women activists, senior citizens, youths and even children joined the protest! With latin music playing and people dancing on the streets, the protest encompassed the culture of South America as well as the beauty our world can potentially have when people come together.
Here are a few snaps of how it went:
Overall, I am happy I got to shout what I wanted governments to do - 100% renewables. I am happy I got to spend a hot day in Lima with thousands of people who has unlimited love for our finite planet. And finally, I am very happy I am a protest-virgin no more!
While in Lima, I had the opportunity to talk to the Amazonian people of South America. From these conversations, I realised how marginalised and overlooked these indigenous people are. Now, I set out to share their personal stories to the world.
Dear Mr/Ms. Negotiator,
Have you ever been to the forest? In the Shuar province of Ecuadorian Amazon, you will see beautiful rivers graced with luscious flora and fauna. You will hear many birds chirping and snakes hissing around. You will be amazed by the tall trees and the abundant fruit which grows from them. You will be surprised with the wondrous effects of the herbal medicines which grow from our fertile soil. Some can even cure cancer!
What about Port Ayacucho in the Amazon state of Venezuela? Have you been to this mountainous province? We are known for our grand mountains with interesting features and our huge river with many fish.
Why don’t you visit our homes and see how we live? Here, you will see through our hearts how we respect Mother Earth and how we depend on her for our own existence. Here, you will see how our homes are rapidly changing because of climate change.
Due to stronger heat and less rainfall, our food production is reducing. Our herbal medicines are depleting. Our land is drying to the point that we can’t use it for anything – not even for living. Due to the acidification of water, our fish are dying. We now have nothing to sell or to eat. The forest is our home, market and drugstore so we need to defend it.
Why don’t you visit our homes and explain to our children how dark their future will be? Day after day they ask us why there are no fishes and why the ground is so hot. We, the indigenous people, do not get the same education as you about climate change so our children are neither aware nor prepared. Yet, we know this is a serious issue because we can feel its effects on our existence.
Why don’t you visit our homes and see the sad reality of how indigenous people live now? Our government, your boss, are telling us to leave our forest and our homes so that companies and miners can come and exploit our Mother Earth. But where are we going to go? Where are we going to get our food? Who is going to take care of our forest? We, the indigenous people, don’t care about money. We don’t care about living in the city. We don’t want to exchange our headdresses and tattoos for fancy clothes.
We want our children to continue our traditions and our rituals. We want our children to love our forest like we have. We want our children to be able to plant crops, climb our tall trees and fish from our river. We want our children to be able to sustain themselves. We are scared about our children’s future – so why don’t you visit our homes and listen to us?
The Indigenous People of the Amazon
All posts by Institute delegates reflect heir own thoughts,opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.