Meet The Women Of The Amazon Whose Lives Are Ruined By Climate Change

"Indigenous communities already feel the impacts of climate change. Our elder wisdom-keepers warned us, but weren’t listened to. They predicted problems if we continued preying on mother nature, causing impacts so great they won’t only affect nature but also humankind. We are out of time, now is the moment for us to bet on life as our existence depends on it.” — Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa leader from the Ecuadorean Amazon

Women in the Amazon basin bear a disproportionate burden as climate change impacts their traditional territories and environment, their homes and their livelihoods. It is in their daily lives that the battle to save family, traditional ways of life, and the future of their children unfurls. Yet these women hold a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be used in our global response to climate change, disaster reduction and adaptation strategies.

As female givers of life, the women of the Amazon have felt a great responsibility to lead the fight against impending oil drilling and the destruction of Pachamama, our "life-giving mother earth.” They are calling on the world to keep oil under ground in their ancestral lands.

"The protection of nature, forests, and ecosystems is the responsibility of everyone. What happens will ultimately affect us all. We want the Amazon to be valued for what it is, not just an economic resource. We are standing up for our lives, yours, the entire world and for the lives of future generations!” says Gualinga.

This past weekend, a group of indigenous female leaders from the Ecuadorean Amazon came to New York City to participate in the People’s Climate March, which was the biggest global climate action in history, and to speak at events during the UN general assembly. These women see this as an opportunity to pressure policymakers and to send a clear and united global call for action to keep the oil in the ground, starting in the Amazon.

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