As global warming continues to outpace the tepid international response, a range of environmentalists are raising their collective voice to demand full rights and recognition for those long associated with land stewardship connected to climate mitigation: indigenous peoples.
Researchers have released what they called “the most comprehensive assessment to date of carbon storage” on forested lands occupied by indigenous peoples and local communities in 64 tropical countries. And one of the main findings of the research is that indigenous peoples are far better stewards of the land than their countries’ governments.
Indigenous communities often work to keep forests intact, which, in turn, keeps carbon locked in trees, vegetation, roots, and soil instead of seeing it released into the atmosphere through deforestation and soil disturbance for ranching, mining, or timbering.
The study’s release is timed to coincide with the September 12 opening in San Francisco of the three-day Global Climate Action Summit hosted by California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The connection between indigenous rights and environmental protection is expected to be a summit highlight.