“While we, as indigenous peoples, may not articulate these problems in scientific terms and categorise them as ‘climate change’, we know their causes well”. These were the words spoken by rising Kayapó leader Mayalú Txucarramãe from the Xingu region of the Brazilian Amazon, as she addressed over 750 emerging climate leaders at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last week.
The Climate Reality Leadership Corps is an international body of climate leaders, trained and led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who are committed to encouraging their communities to work together towards tackling the climate crisis. Mayalú joined the meeting in Rio to act as a voice for indigenous people and to communicate their perspective on climate change, a unique perspective of people who are among those with the most to lose.
The impassioned talk highlighted the connection of these indigenous people with nature and emphasised their heightened sense of understanding of the environment they live in. ‘”My grandfather said long ago that the uncontrolled action of man has unbalanced nature,” Mayalú stated, describing her personal experience of drying rivers and a disrupted rainfall cycle which are having significant effects on both the continuity of the forest, and the plants and animals that reside within it. Mr Gore acknowledged the critical importance of the Amazon region and its role locally and globally in regulating weather patterns, affirming the concerns voiced by Mayalú who acknowledged the impending danger faced by the Amazon and its inhabitants; “it is for the future generations that I am here today,” she concluded.
This example of an individual so far removed from our modern society, and yet so close to the consequences of our actions, brings to light the interconnectedness of the issue of climate change. It is a global problem and therefore requires a global solution, a fact recognised by climate leaders such as Mr Gore who described global cooperation as “…the only way to solve this crisis”.
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