Rio+20: Indigenous peoples march to deliver Kari-Oca Declaration to world leaders

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Tom Goldtooth and Clayton Thomas-Muller took part in the Kari-Oca 2 Summit in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Ben Powless)

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Indigenous peoples are gathered at the Kari-Oca 2 Summit in Rio de Janeiro, as the governments and corporate profiteers attempt to place a price on nature as a commodity at the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainability.

The Kari-Oca 2 Declaration will be delivered to world leaders today during a march from the Kari-Oca encampment to the Rio+20 Summit.

The declaration states, in part:

"We see the goals of UNCSD Rio+20, the 'Green Economy,' and its premise that the world can only 'save' nature by commodifying its life-giving and life-sustaining capacities as a continuation of the colonialism that Indigenous peoples and our Mother Earth have faced and resisted for 520 years... Indigenous activists and leaders defending their territories continue to suffer repression, militarization, including assassination, imprisonment, harassment and vilification as 'terrorists.' The violation of our collective rights faces the same impunity. Forced relocation or assimilation assault our future generations, cultures, languages, spiritual ways and relationship to the earth, economically and politically."

Calling it a new wave of colonialism, Indigenous peoples from around the world are fighting to protect their rivers and forests, their air and land from green scams and false climate solutions. They are also remembering the Indigenous environmental activists from around the world who have been murdered protecting their homelands from mining and drilling.

Indigenous peoples from the United States and Canada are focused on halting the environmental nightmare of Alberta's dirty tar sands, which has already destroyed Cree homelands in Canada, and the Keystone pipeline, which could pollute even more waterways and lands in the U.S.

The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is battling "carbon cowboys," and exposing the false climate solutions and scam carbon credits of the carbon market, which allows the world's worst polluters to continue polluting.

Dirty coal and the carbon credit scam

The worst polluters in the United States include the coal fired power plants on the Navajo Nation, the latest target in a public relations scheme using the carbon credit scam, with so-called green credits, as part of the coal industry's desperate scheme to keep the Navajo Generating Station operating and polluting near the Grand Canyon.

Operated by the Salt River Project in Arizona, the Navajo Generating Station is one of the dirtiest coal fired power plants in the United States, and one of three coal fired power plants on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation is also targeted by water rights theft schemes of Arizona senators and polluted by widespread oil and gas drilling and radioactive tailings from Cold War uranium mines. The Navajo Nation in New Mexico, and Lakota homelands in Nebraska and South Dakota, are both now targeted with new uranium mining that could further contaminate aquifers.

Rights of Nature

At the gatherings underway in Rio, Indigenous peoples who gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2010, are carrying forward the Rights of Nature mandated by the World's Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.

The Declaration of the Rights of Nature states: "The so-called 'developed' countries must reduce their levels of over-consumption and overexploitation of resources of the world in order to reestablish harmony among human beings and with nature, allowing for the sustainable development of all developing countries." It also demands a world climate court, redistribution of wealth, and the halt to carbon credits and false climate solutions.

Carbon cowbows and the REDD hoax

At the Kari-Oca 2 in Rio, Indigenous activists demand a halt to the corporate destruction of their forests and rivers, land and air. They denounced the Green Economy and REDD privatization of nature, which is aimed at selling the air and destroying the future. Indigenous peoples warn of the REDD scam, which constitutes a worldwide land grab and carbon offset scam.

REDD+ is an UN-promoted false solution to climate change and the pillar of the Green Economy. Officially, REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation.

Tom Goldtooth, Director of the IEN, said that "REDD+ really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity."

Just as Chief Seattle over a hundred years ago asked, "How can you sell the air?," Marlon Santi of the Ecuadorian Amazon condemns carbon trading and REDD+ and asks, "How can you sell Mother Earth and Father Sky?"

But apparently someone is trying, as the recently inaugurated Bolsa Verde do Rio de Janeiro (BVRio), a Brazilian stockmarket for forest carbon credits, shows.

Berenice Sanchez of the Nahua People of Mexico said, "Not only does REDD+ corrupt the Sacred and fuel financial speculation, it also serves as greenwash for extractive industries like Shell and Rio Tinto."

For Indigenous peoples, REDD+ is a "new wave of colonialism." From Peru to Papua New Guinea, carbon cowboys are running amok trying to rip off native communities and grab the forests of the world, 80 per cent of which are found in Indigenous peoples' lands and territories.

Marife Macalanda of the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network said, "The environmental crisis is getting worse because of capitalists' false solutions such as REDD+. The real solution to the climate crisis affecting the people of the world, especially Indigenous peoples, is to protect Mother Earth, uphold social justice and respect the Indigenous peoples' decisions and right to say no."

The first Kari-Oca summit in Rio was held in 1992, before the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. More than 700 Indigenous leaders signed the Indigenous Peoples Earth Charter.


Brenda Norrell is the publisher of Censored News, where this article first appeared.


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