1.Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions. On average these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by indigenous peoples and local communities.
2.Recognizing the knowledge, innovations and practices, institutions and values of indigenous peoples and local communities and their inclusion and participation in environmental governance often enhance their quality of life, as well as nature conservation, restoration and sustainable use, which is relevant to broader society.
3.Governance, including customary institutions and management systems, and co-management regimes involving indigenous peoples and local communities, can be an effective way to safeguard nature and its contributions to people, incorporating locally attuned management systems and indigenous and local knowledge.
Knowledge is passed down and enriched by rainforest communities, making them powerful stakeholders in a rapidly changing climate where species loss is going to cause catastrophic irreversible damage. As they interact with nature and manage resources that contribute to society at large, the valuable traditional knowledge possessed needs to be recognised in order to tackle adverse environmental issues ahead.
But the 350 million people living in the world’s rainforest are also the first to suffer directly from the pressures of mining, logging, palm oil production and even conservation that doesn’t put the rights of local people at its core.
For too long, indigenous-led conservation has been ignored in favour of top-down conservation schemes. Cool Earth was created to put local people at the heart of rainforest conservation, relying on local knowledge to achieve success.
Rainforest communities are often better placed than scientists or governments to provide detailed information on local wildlife loss or environmental change. Empowered rainforest communities can be the most powerful conservation force we have.
As research has long warned, climate change is already causing damage and disruption around the globe. While others make tentative plans for preparing for climate breakdown, the world’s poor, those who are least responsible for global man-made emissions, will suffer from a range of climate-related issues.