The guardians of nature under threat

The guardians of nature under threat

Where India has been facing a massive climate change due to excessive deforestation in cities and small towns due to industrialization and infrastructure building; this atmosphere destruction can be halted by the indigenous people living in the forest by their local and ancestral knowledge but unfortunately they are being chased out of their native land by various rules to snatch away their lands from them.  

 The indigenous people had still held up the ancestral knowhow to protect habitat that have sustained them for hundreds and even thousands of years, according to a landmark UN assessment of biodiversity but the development of mankind has taken an ugly face and is adversely affecting the nature.

The knowledge of indigenous people and their management practices can control the destruction caused due to industrialization but these guardians of nature are under great threat says the UN scientific report.    

Whether it is timber trafficking, agribusiness and cattle raring in the hilly areas or climate change, global warming, an unrelenting economic powers fuelled by coal, oil and gas is destroying the natural world, the grim report found.

Our Earth’s estimated eight million species are at risk of extinction, and an area of tropical forest the one –third size of India has been destroyed since 2014.

“Indigenous peoples and local communities are facing growing resource extraction, commodity production, along with mining, transport and energy infrastructure,” with awful impacts on livelihoods and health, the report concluded.

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Experts estimate that there are some 300 million indigenous people living in mostly undisturbed natural areas, and another 600 million in “local communities” striding the natural and built worlds.

At least a quarter of global lands are traditionally owned, managed or occupied by indigenous groups, the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) found.

“Indigenous peoples have truly been guardians of Nature for the rest of society,” said Eduardo Brondizio, co-chair of the UN report and a professor of Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington.

Research has shown that forests under indigenous management are more effective carbon sinks and are less prone to wildfires than many so-called “protected areas” controlled by business concessions.

“We have been guardians of our lands for millennia and have deep interaction with ecosystems where we live,” said Lakpa Nuri Sherpa, a Sherpa activist from eastern Nepal.

“Our lands are among the most biodiverse on the planet” he added.

But nearly three-quarters of regions worldwide under indigenous ownership have seen a decline in most measure of biodiversity and ecosystem health, the report found.

“The pressures on them continue to be enormous,” said Brondizio.

“The global economy keeps pushing the boundaries of resource extraction” deeper into indigenous territory, indigenous peoples have been retreating from those economic frontiers for 500 years, but get caught every time” he added.

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Globally, the pace of deforestation is staggering.

The livestock industry is a double climate threat: it destroys forests to make way for grazing land and soy crops to feed cattle, and generates huge amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

More than 200 environmental campaigners, half from indigenous tribes in tropical forests were murdered in 2017, according to watchdog group Global Witness.

“Our global home is under threat, and Nature is in decline, all driven by an economic and political system that favours increasing consumption and growth over living in harmony with Nature,” said Aroha Te Pareake Mead, a member of the Ngati Awa and Ngati Porou Maori tribes in New Zealand.

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