Stephen Leahy

RIO DE JANEIRO Delegates in Rio will need to take a leap of faith and agree on concepts like the green economy and sustainable development goals without really knowing what they involve, suggest experts on the sidelines of the Rio+20 Earth Summit. “The green economy is a black box right now. We don’t know what...

  An indigenous caravan is bringing to the Rio+20 conference the philosophy of “buen vivir” – “living well” in harmony with nature – as a solution to the world’s environmental and economic crises. Indigenous leaders from all over South America are making their way by foot, canoe and eventually on buses to be part of...

Climate change is the result of not behaving in the right way, according to the isolated Trio, an indigenous people living in Suriname’s Amazon forest near its border with Brazil. “They see climate change as big problem. They say their forests are changing, deteriorating,” said Gwendolyn Smith, a project director for the non-profit organization Amazon Conservation...

“REDD is the new beast in the forest,” said Patrick Anderson of the Forest Peoples Programme in Indonesia here at Climate Change Mitigation with Local Communities and Indigenous peoples workshop in Cairns, Australia. Deforestation gobbles up an area the size of Greece (13 million hectares) every year. As if that loss wasn’t bad enough, it...

Forests can not only suck climate-heating carbon out of the atmosphere, they are also an important source of food for many Indigenous peoples. “Western food is making our people sick. Our bodies are adapted to eating bush foods,” said Seith Fourmile of the Gimuy-Walubarra Yidinji Nation of Cairns. Australia’s Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples...

  “Planning is not part of our culture. You just get up in the morning and do what you need to do for the day,” said Marilyn Wallace of the Kuku Nyungka ‘mob’ (aboriginal nation) in northern Queensland, Australia. “Bama,” people caring for their local territory, is an important part of aboriginal culture and identity,...

  In what may be a ‘clash of worldviews,’ representatives from indigenous and local communities are holding a climate workshop with physicists, computer modellers, and other climate scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Cairns, Australia 26-28 March. This is a unique opportunity for Native peoples to discuss their traditional knowledge and experiences as...