Ecuador

Protecting the Amazon’s Biodiversity and Indigenous Territories

In the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, there lived a fearless Indigenous woman named Nemonte Nenquimo. Nemonte belonged to the Waorani nationality and grew up learning the sacred teachings of her people, which emphasized the importance of the land and the interconnectedness of all life.

One day, Nemonte learned that foreign oil companies had set their sights on her ancestral lands, intending to exploit the rich reserves buried beneath the forest floor. They planned to drill and extract oil, bringing irreversible harm to the fragile ecosystem and disrupting the lives of her community. As a woman, a mother, a water protector and a forest defender, Nemonte called on others to join her in the fight to defend the Amazon rainforest and the planet. Determined to protect her home, Nemonte rallied her tribe, uniting them in the fight against the oil extraction projects and the destruction of their forest.

She knew that the fight would not be easy, but she remained hopeful and determined. She knew that by working together, they could make a difference and protect the land and her people. Nemonte and her fellow Waorani began advocating for their rights and the preservation of their lands. They brought their case to the Ecuadorian government, asserting their legal rights and demanding recognition of their ancestral territories.

Nemonte’s passion and leadership sparked a global movement and people from around the world stood in solidarity with the Waorani, recognizing the invaluable knowledge and wisdom that Indigenous communities possess when it comes to sustainable living and protecting Mother Earth.

Nemonte’s efforts led to a landmark court ruling in favor of the Waorani, recognizing their rights to their ancestral lands and protecting them from further exploitation. The ruling set a precedent for Indigenous communities worldwide, empowering them to fight for their rights and the preservation of their natural environments.

Nemonte and her community partnered with other Indigenous communities facing similar struggles in different parts of the world. They shared their stories, strategies, and successes, and realized the immense power they held collectively.

Nemonte continues her journey as an environmental leader, advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples and the importance of their involvement in environmental decision-making processes. She tirelessly campaigns for sustainable practices that would protect not only the forests but also the biodiversity, water sources, and cultural heritage that depended on them.

Nemonte’s story is a symbol of tenacity. Through Nemonte’s leadership, the world came to understand that in order to tackle the global environmental crisis, we must respect and learn from the Indigenous communities who have thrived in harmony with nature for centuries. Their voices must be heard, their rights protected, and their knowledge embraced.

Indigenous territories encompass vast areas of pristine forests, including tropical rainforests like the Amazon. Although Indigenous Peoples comprise less than 5% of the world’s population, they live on and protect lands that contain 80% of the Earth’s biodiversity. These forests are biodiversity hotspots and play a critical role in carbon sequestration, helping to mitigate climate change. Indigenous peoples have historically faced marginalization and environmental injustices.

Including Indigenous peoples in decision-making processes ensures that climate policies consider their rights, needs, and aspirations, fostering greater social and environmental justice. Indigenous communities have inhabited and relied on diverse ecosystems for generations and often live in harmony with nature, respecting its interconnectedness and relying on its resources for their livelihoods. Their traditional practices prioritize conservation, sustainable land use, and the protection of biodiversity. This traditional knowledge offers invaluable insights into sustainable practices, ecosystem management, and adaptation strategies, which can help mitigate and address the impacts of climate change.

Consider these tips:

Personal

Be part of supporting and funding Indigenous led efforts to protect the Earth. Take notice of the ways that fossil fuels are utilized in your town or city and consider ways to curb their use. Consider carpooling with colleagues and friends to save on gas or taking public transportation where possible. Try to use solar energy as much as you can to move to just transition to renewable energy in as many aspects of your life as possible.  Also, check out the source of your money and see if it is supporting corporations that are causing harm to nature and to lands and water that need protection.

Community

Promote the just transition to renewable energy in your community and limit the usage of fossil fuels as much as you can. Share your learnings with your community about the impacts of fossil fuels and the history of fossil fuel companies’ exploitation of communities like Nemonte’s.

Share Your Ideas

Share your ideas: Have you or someone you know done something in your community to combat the destruction of ecosystems? We would love to hear from you! Please send your story to engage@daughtersforearth.org. You can support all Daughters by donating below.

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