Indigenous Voices Silenced in COP26

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Indigenous Voices Silenced in COP26

In every corner of the world indigenous culture respects and protects nature in a manner that is synonymous with their lifestyle. This week, leaders worldwide are meeting up at Glasgow to discuss climate mitigation and the urgency to switch to net-zero emissions talking about strategies such as decarbonization, reforestation, biofuels, new technologies, and carbon capturing mechanisms.

However, these are solutions proposed by capital markets that somehow gloss over what indigenous communities urgently ask for: keep fossil fuels in the ground.

The famous Paris agreement legally states the importance of indigenous knowledge for conserving the environment, yet their voices are silenced in this COP26. The excuse? Visa restrictions and lack of proper COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Thus, major indigenous communities could not participate in the convention. “Indigenous people are more visible but we’re not taken any more seriously; we’re romanticized and tokenized. They’re trying to collect and preserve indigenous knowledge while continuing to leave us out of the actual decision-making and positions of power. It’s the only lever we have to hold states and governments accountable, but it’s the same paternalistic system as ever. We’re set up to fail, so that’s where civil society must come in.”—” said Eriel Deranger, executive director of Indigenous Climate Action.

The most devastating realization is how indigenous voices have become martyrs. In 2020, 227 indigenous activists were murdered by loggers and fossil fuel workers. Yet, somehow their voices remain unheard, their pleas unanswered, and their deaths unaccounted for.

Their absence at COP26 is a stark reminder of how this system benefits fossil fuel companies, and silences our most important fighters.

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