Do You Want to Save the Planet? Listen to Native People

April 14, 2021 By César Albarrán Torres

The long and tortuous process of colonization of much of the world by European powers left several prejudices in the way colonizers, mestizo groups and modern societies relate to indigenous peoples.

From what is now known as America to Africa, passing through Asia and Oceania, indigenous communities have been relegated in political, cultural and social matters. On the one hand, many have been dispossessed of their lands. On the other hand, the traditional way in which they relate to the environment, usually with an impetus for conservation rather than exploitation, is judged as an under-evolved and unproductive way of relating to the Earth.

Climate change is a cataclysm that must make everyone think. The lesson we must learn: use what you need and ensure that resources are renewed.

We have to get it into our heads once and for all. Climate change is scientifically proven and is due to the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources and mass industrialization.

Indigenous peoples subsisted for centuries, and even for thousands of years in the case of groups like the Australian aborigines, without interrupting the natural regeneration of resources. They took what they needed, listened to nature, and let plants and animals do their thing to ensure resources were not depleted. Scientists finally agree that tradition is sometimes or almost always more important than progress.

This is not coming from us, but from the UN. The lesson we must learn: if you don’t know, don’t mess with it.

A recent report published by the UN stated that the indigenous communities of Latin America and the Caribbean are the right people to safeguard the environment against climate change.

In regions such as the Amazon, both in Brazil and in neighboring countries such as Colombia, the voracity of the timber industry has displaced indigenous peoples who are millennial guardians of the area. The report indicates that supporting and empowering these communities is also the most cost-effective solution, not only in terms of carbon emissions, but also to protect biodiversity and climate systems.

So if the world is driven by money, this is also a more profitable solution.