Stories & Solutions from the Frontlines: Climate Women Unite At WECAN Event in Lima

Photo Via Leo Sacha

International women leaders at WECAN event. Photo via Leo Sacha.

On December 8, 2014, a group of extraordinary women leaders gathered in Lima, Peru to speak out against issues of social and ecologic injustice, and to share stories and plans of action for building a livable, equitable world.

‘Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change-Lima’ was hosted by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) as part of the mobilization surrounding the UNFCCC COP20 climate negotiations, held in Lima that same week. Crucially, the event created a platform to bring to the forefront some of the voices that have been historically excluded, particularly those of Indigenous women.

The event opened with a powerful welcome ceremony, led by Eda Zavala, an Indigenous leader from Tarapoto, Peru.

Eda Zavala of Tarapoto, Peru. Photo via Amazon Watch.

WECAN International Co-Founder and Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, introduced the event,

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Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN International Executive Director.

“We are here today to explore what we, as women from different parts of the world, can do to accelerate our collective efforts to stop extractivism and protect our lands and children’s future. How can we as women connect more deeply in our defense and protection of the web of life and the Earth in the face of climate change and dangerous economic and legal frameworks? How can women of the Global South and North work in deeper collaboration, and how can we recognize and act upon the historic responsibilities of industrialized countries and so-called wealthier communities? Indigenous and frontline communities are where we must focus our efforts, and we acknowledge with deep respect and fierce outrage the threats and crimes against defenders of the land.”

“Foundationally, how we treat the Earth is how we treat women. Violence against the Earth, begets violence against women…Women comprise about 20 million of the 26 million people estimated to have been displaced by climate change, and yet, while women continue to suffer disproportionately, they also stand on the frontlines of global efforts to revision our world and build real solutions,” Lake explained.

Bianca Jagger, social and human rights advocate, and Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, presented further opening remarks focusing on the importance of women’s leadership and solidarity with frontline communities worldwide. Please see Ms. Jagger’s important analysis of COP20 and her participation in the WECAN event here.

Bianca Jagger of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and Sonia Guajajara, National Coordinator of Brazil’s Association of Indigenous Peoples, Maranhão. Brazil. Photo via Amazon Watch.

Following opening remarks, panel sessions moderated by Leila Salazar-Lopez, Program Director at Amazon Watch, and Lake of WECAN International began, featuring women land-defenders sharing their experiences and solutions.

Gloria Ushigua, President of the Association of Sapara Women in Ecuador denounced the destruction caused by the oil industry’s steady encroachment on her people’s territory. Poignantly, Gloria explained the devastation of the Earth and the health, security, and wellbeing of Amazonian communities as a direct result of misconceived notions of development and progress.

Hueiya Alicia Cahuiya Iteca, Vice President of the Huaorani nationality of Ecuador, detailed her fight for an immediate end to all oil exploration and drilling in Yasuni National Park, one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots, and home to an incredible array of cultures and communities. Yasuni is one of the few places in the region that thrived during the last ice age, and, quite extraordinarily, is one of the few expected to withstand extreme future climate changes. Despite this, the Ecuadorian government and foreign and national companies are pushing into this previously ‘intangible’ zone, compromising the very survival of the land and its people.

Photo via Atossa Soltani

Hueiya Alicia Cahuiya Iteca, Vice-President of the Huaorani nationality of Ecuador. Photo via Atossa Soltani

Hueiya elucidated how the rivers that once flourished and sustained life of breathtaking diversity are now poisoning the fish and causing unheard of cancers and skin diseases, particularly in children.

We must fight to protect the Earth and our territories for these children and future generations, Hueiya explained, reminding all present that if our ancestors had not taken action, we would not be here today.

Tantoo Cardinal, Native Canadian actress and activist addressed the audience next, taking them from the heart of the Amazon rainforest, to the devastated tar sands region in Canada. Tantoo explained the ways in which the poisoning of the Earth and Indigenous communities in North America, unleashed through extractive industries, is but an extension of a colonial mindset,

“For generations, our language was outlawed. Our songs were outlawed. Our way of relationship with creator, with creative force, was outlawed. Our names were taken away.”

Tantoo and hundreds of other men and women from across Canada and the US have been working ceaselessly to insure that exploitation is stopped, and that the root causes of these injustices are addressed.

Nina Gualinga, Kichwa youth leader from Sarayaku, in the Ecuadorian Amazon opened the second panel discussion, reflecting on how she was compelled to become an Earth defender,

“I grew up in a beautiful place in the rainforest of Ecuador, in Sarayaku. I don’t have words to describe my childhood, but it was beautiful. I cannot ask for anything else. When I was about seven years old, maybe eight, this representative of an oil company called CGC came to Sarayaku. It was an Argentinian oil company. And I did not speak Spanish, but I saw that my elders, my mother and all the people in Sarayaku were worried…That was the first time I feared that my land and the life that I knew was going to be destroyed.”

Hailing from Nepal, and representing communities in India and Thailand, Mrinalini (Tina) Rai, Indigenous advisor and gender expert from the Global Forest Coalition, shared her experiences of the challenges women face in forest communities.

Pictured left to right: Nina Gualinga, Mrinalini (Tina) Rai, Casey Camp Horinek, Atossa Soltani, & Osprey Orielle Lake. Photo via Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

Ponca Nation elder, actress, long-time activist, and Indigenous Environmental Network representative, Casey Camp-Horinek, reflected on experiences at the frontline of the fight against extractive industries in Oklahoma, USA.

“We’re living in a very destructive area, where I am. We have ConocoPhillips. We have fracking. We have earthquakes as a result of that fracking. We have fish kills. We have cancer rates that are astronomical at this time. We have literal killings. They may not be coming after us with their bayonets and their rifles, but they’re coming at us with nuclear waste, they’re coming at us with fracking, they’re coming at us with pipelines that are carrying that filth from the tar sands, where they’re killing my relatives up there. And they’re bringing it to you.”

Casey’s presentation echoed earlier speakers, highlighting the fact that while not everyone present at the event directly experiences the impacts of extractivism and exploitation at this time, it is imperative that we act in solidarity with the communities who suffer, working to heal past harms and prevent the spreading of this devastation.

Atossa Soltani, Founder and Executive Director of Amazon Watch also spoke, concluding her comments with a fierce testimony and analysis of why fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we are to avert catastrophic levels of climate disruption.

“Looking for more oil and gas is insane. We need to keep the oil in the ground.” Atossa explained.

During the final panel session, presenters shared strategies for implementing a living forest worldview and developing renewable energy alternatives, just economic structures, resistance movements, and systemic change.

Pictured left to right: Patricia Gualinga, Sonia Guajajara, and Nino Gamisonia. Photo via Atossa Soltani.

Traveling from Maranhão, Brazil, Sonia Guajajara serves as the National Coordinator of Brazil’s Association of Indigenous Peoples, and has been working to expose violations of Indigenous Rights happening across her home country. Specifically, Sonia is campaigning against the industrial agribusiness interests responsible for deforesting and polluting great swaths of land in Brazil, as well as against the construction of several mega-dam projects expected to displace thousands and flood irreplaceable ecosystems.

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Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa leader from Sarayaku, Ecuador.

Nino Gamisonia of the Rural Communities Development Agency in Abkhazia, Georgia gave fresh insight on a region whose story is seldom told. Nino outlined detailed women-led solar energy projects that are leap-frogging rural communities towards clean energy alternatives in her region.

Speaking from experience leading her communities’ fight to protect diverse cultural and ecologic heritage from oil extraction, Patricia Gualinga, Indigenous Kichwa leader of Sarayaku, Ecuador spoke last:

“The destruction of nature is the destruction of our own energy and of our own existence here on Earth,” Patricia explained, “the destruction of our spaces is the destruction of indigenous populations. And even though you might not believe this, this is your destruction, as well.”

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Strategy circle led by allies at the Indigenous Environmental Network.

After the panels, several breakout sessions were organized, including ‘Indigenous Women North and South: Defenders of the Mother Earth Treaty’, presented by the Indigenous Environmental Network, and an initial strategy session for distributing and gaining visibility for the ‘Declaration of the Meeting of Women Against Extractivism and Climate Change’, or Declaración del Encuentro de Mujeres Frente al Extractivismo y al Cambio Climático.

This powerful statement, written at a gathering of Indigenous women and allies in Quito, Ecuador in October 2014, denounces false development paradigms, territorial dispossession, and the poisoning of communities and nature. A group of women, including panelist Hueiya Alicia Cahuiya Iteca, worked throughout COP20 to gain recognition and support for their demands. Click here to read the full declaration in Spanish and English.

Gloria Ushigua, President of the Association of Sapara Women, Ecuador, and Hueiya Alicia Cahuiya Iteca, Vice-President of Huaorani nationality of Ecuador. Photo via Amazon Watch.

Lake closed the event with a clear directive from all participants that the deliberations, new partnerships, and strategic plans that arose from the gathering would be carried out in 2015. Special thanks to Amazon Watch and the Indigenous Environmental Network for participation in this and other events in Lima.

WECAN International is deeply honored that the team from Democracy Now! attended ‘Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change-Lima’. Their coverage is presented below, allowing you to hear directly from some of the courageous and inspiring women who spoke at the event.

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Blog by Emily Arasim, WECAN International Special Projects & Communication Coordinator

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International Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal Climate Change Case Statement

On December 5 and 6, 2014, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature convened the second ‘International Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal’ in Lima, Peru, using the Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth to examine and make formal observations on cases of exploitation of the Earth that have remained outside the consideration of formal institutions.

Cases on trail included the BP Deep Horizon oil spill, the Belo Monte mega-dam in Brazil, threats to the Great Barrier Reef, fracking projects in North America and Bolivia, REDD initiatives, the persecution of defenders of the Earth, and unmitigated fossil fuel and mineral extraction in sites such as Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park and El Mirador gold mine, and Peru’s Four Rivers Basin.

WECAN International Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, served as a judge during the Tribunal, focusing specifically on the case analyzing the ways in which Earths inherent rights have been violated by the impacts of climate change and false climate solutions. Her final statement is presented below, alongside photos from the event.


Honorable President of the Tribunal and Ladies and Gentleman,

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Blanca Chancoso, Kichwa leader, Ecuador.

I want to express my deepest appreciation for all the witnesses for Mother Earth who have spoken so powerfully in the defense of Pachamama and their communities these past two days. Particularly, I want to honor the voices of the Indigenous women who have spoken here.

Thank you to the presenters of the climate change case for such a compelling and critical testimony about global warming and false solutions.

The presentation reminded me of a forum I participated in during the Peoples Climate March in New York City this past September. Scientists were reporting on their research concerning the harmful effects of increasing CO2 emissions on pregnant women and their growing babies. What was almost too difficult to grasp at this forum was that we, as a species, we are literally weighing the very health of our babies against a destructive system that has gone completely mad.

Today the climate change presenters have made well-founded arguments illustrating the ways in which the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth have been fundamentally violated by global temperature rise, and by a myriad of false solutions being proposed for mitigation.

If the global mean temperature warms by more than 2 °Celsius (and likely less than that given the dangerous change we have already witnessed), risks to ecosystems and livelihoods will surpass tolerable levels. Your arguments have made it clear that the consequences of climate change are leading to irreversible and fatal changes to the very web of life.

President of the Huni Kui people of Acre, Brazil, Ninawa Kaxinawá (Hunikui)

Because of a world view based on domination of Nature, and a destructive capitalist framework based on endless material growth and extractivism, grave violations of Mother Earth’s rights are taking place, destroying not only animals, plants, rivers, oceans and the atmosphere, but bringing into question the very existence of the human species.

The fossil fuel industry, our governance structures, and corporate institutions must be held accountable for these violations against Nature. While many world leaders hold on to the notion that we can postpone serious reductions in fossil fuels, nature is clearly demonstrating that Earth’s natural laws cannot be manipulated, compromised, or ignored.

From the arguments of the presenters, we can see that false solutions, such as geo-engineering, carbon capture and storage, nuclear energy, and ‘climate smart’ industrial agriculture are only furthering violations of Mother Earth’s rights. These are a techno fixes that interfere with the natural laws of our planet and further promote the commodification and financialization of living systems.

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Mary Louise Malig.

Geo-engineering is doubly dangerous and destructive because it not only interferes with the Earth’s natural ability to balance herself, but it also does nothing to address the root causes of climate change.

As Naomi Klein stated in her book This Changes Everything, “The appeal of geo-engineering is that it doesn’t threaten our worldview. It leaves us in a dominant position. It says that there is an escape hatch.” In other words, it allows us to just keep doing what are doing, despite the fact that it is clearly not working.

Likewise, you have shown us that market mechanisms are a violation of the Earth’s rights, allowing for escalating destruction through the buying and selling of the right to pollute through schemes like carbon trading.

It is not a surprise that in these schemes Nature is assumed to be an object of the marketplace, as the commodification and financialization of nature is inherent in the capitalist system.

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Osprey Orielle Lake.

We must ask ourselves: Does it make any sense to try to protect the Earth and heal our damaged ecosystems by further subjecting nature to the very logics and systems that caused the damage in the first place?

Our Mother Earth is calling out to us and our hearts are breaking. She is letting us know that we are on a path of great devastation. Today, our hearts also break for our fallen sisters and brother, defenders of the land, whose stories we have heard throughout the Tribunal.

And while it is true the Earth will live on and survive even we do not, it is tragic to think that our mark as species on this beautiful, luminous planet will be one of destruction and violence, instead of beauty, dignity and harmony with Nature.

Your presentation makes it clear that our legal and economic frameworks are at war with the sacred web of life. We need an entirely different legal configuration that recognizes that living systems are not enslaved human property for our exploitation. In order to live in harmony with the Earth and safeguard a healthy world for present and future generations, we need to reform the destructive aspects of our modern life.

The testimony of the climate change presenters highlights this urgent need to address climate change with solutions based on climate justice and respect for the natural laws of the planet.

I will name here just 9 of a myriad of actions we need to take in concert given the scale of this crisis.

  1. We need to advance a new society, based on social justice and environmental sustainability that recognizes human rights and Rights of Nature.
  2.  We must limit global warming to below 2.0 °Celsius, but we should and can aim for the 1.5° limit proposed by acutely vulnerable nations.
  3.  All CO2-emissions must fall to net zero by mid-century, at the very latest.
  4.  We must divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy.
  5. We need to respect all governmental treaties with Indigenous peoples and defend their right to continue to inhabit traditional lands, undisturbed by industrial projects and extractive industries.
  6.  We must reject greenhouse gas emissions reductions schemes that come from high-risk technologies, like geo-engineering and nuclear power.
  7. We must address unsustainable consumption and production in the Global North, and governments must recognize the historic responsibilities of industrialized countries.
  8. We must leave at least 80% of the remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground and stop further fossil fuel exploration and development
  9. We must transition to 100% renewable energy sources and decentralize and democratize ownership of this new energy economy.
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Domingo Ankuash, Shuar leader from Ecuador led the case against the El Mirador gold mine. He is calling for an investigation of the tragic death of Shuar leader J. Tendentza, killed a few days ago as he prepared to travel to Lima to testify at the Tribunal & other events.

We need to support movements and governance and economic structures that are not based on endless material growth, and instead envision a new way of living that is based on care for each other and Pachamama, Mother Earth. A society with a new understanding of ourselves, progress, and well-being.

Sumak Kawsy, or ‘living well’, a concept coming from the great wisdom of our Indigenous sisters and brothers, offers us an important direction forward to help us overcome current misconceptions of ‘development’ and well being. As we think about reparation, mitigation, restoration and prevention of further harm to each other and the Earth, we need to embrace these ideas of Sumak Kawsy.

In this way, uplifting the Rights of Nature can help us address our dysfunctional systems and support the transition we need by reconnecting us with the world around us. This is essential because underlying so many of the root causes of our destructive relationship with the Earth is a belief that we are somehow separate from nature.

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Casey Camp Horinek of the Ponca First Nation.

This sense of disconnect from our living Earth has proven to be not only spiritually heartbreaking and ecologically devastating, but a disaster in the human experiment. My hope is that in uncovering how our current legal and economic systems violate Natures rights, and in confronting the false climate change solutions being put forward by policymakers, we will have a deeply needed societal transformation. That we will come home, back to Mother Earth with respect and care, and rather quickly given the small window of time we have before we pass ecological tipping points.

As case presenters and Mr.Pablo Salon stated, climate change is very complex and far-reaching, consequently, the judges affirm that this case will remain open for further evidence to be collected and prepared for a Tribunal during the UN climate negotiations in Paris next year.

Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal members held a press briefing to present Tribunal findings at UNFCCC COP20 climate negotiations. Pictured from left to right: Nnimmo Bassey, Atossa Soltani, Tom Goldtooth, Pablo Salon, and Osprey Orielle Lake . Photo via Andrew Miller.

You can watch the press conference on the Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal here: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop20/events/2014-12-09-14-00-amazon-watch

Statement of the Meeting of Women on Climate Change and Extractive Industry Issues/ Declaracion del Encuentro de Mujeres Frente Al Extractivismo y al Cambio Climatico

On October 14, 2014, a group of women leaders gathered for ‘the Meeting of Women on Climate Change and Extractive Industry Issues’ in Quito, Ecuador. During powerful presentations and discussions, these Indigenous women and their allies spoke out against the fossil fuel and mineral extraction which is poisoning the Earth and the mental, spiritual, and physical health of their communities. Denouncing false development paradigms and territorial dispossession, the women ultimately gave voice to their concerns and solutions in the ‘Statement of the Meeting of Women on Climate Change and Extractive Industry Issues’ (Declaración del Encuentro de Mujeres Frente al Extractivismo y al Cambio Climático).

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) stands in solidarity with these women, and is working to help distribute and increase the visibility of their statement during the mobilization surrounding the UNFCCC COP20 climate negotiations happening in Lima, Peru this week. On December 8, WECAN International will collaborate with members of the delegation of Ecuadorian women who have brought the statement to Peru, reading and discussing the document as part of the ‘Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change-Lima’ event.

The full declaration is presented below in Spanish and English.

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Photo by Felipe Jacome


Statement of the Meeting of Women on Climate Change & Extractive Industry Issues

Quito, Ecuador. October 14, 2014

“It is when there are great threats to life, when life itself is at stake, this is when women who seemed marginal rise with all their might, it is with all their commitment, all their resistance, all their energy, this is what is now happening with the daughters of corn, with the daughters of the earth.” -Vandana Shiva

One way to exploit nature is through the extraction of oil and minerals, which uses huge amounts of water while it contaminates and produces toxic waste; these chemicals also sicken the soil and people. When oil and mining companies reach the territories, they cause big problems- they break the community ties and replace them with conflicts within the families, the division of communities, and leave confrontations between them. The damage caused by these extractive activities are for the long term, and last much longer than the economic profit they say to generate.

Women in the areas considered oil zones, suffer the impacts of extractive activities in our bodies; we have reported the increase of gastrointestinal, respiratory and dermic, diseases, the growing cancer in our bodies and in our families. Women are wise when we say that “we do not want alcoholism, we do not want prostitution and we do not want men beating us. We do not want a life in which even though we can be offered schools, latrines or zinc houses, we do not feel worthy”, as pointed out by Patricia Gualinga, leader of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, in reference to the consequences that Oil Round XI would bring to their lives. With oil and mining activities agricultural products also decrease due to pollution, animals die, there is loss of growing crop areas, affecting the livelihoods of families and the community.

With oil and mining expansion, the dispossession of lands and territories of peasant and indigenous communities has intensified. Throughout this process of dispossession there has not only been violated and ignored social, economic and collective rights of peoples, but also, there has also been a physical and cultural wiped out of entire villages in order to take away their lands and exploit oil and minerals. An example of this, is the disappearance of the Tetete and Sansaguari people. And, women are one of the groups who suffer the most with the stripping of their rights and territories.

Our presence as women in socio-environmental struggles has gained prominence, allowing to denounce the exploitation of oil, minerals, and the exploitation of women. All these forms of exploitation have a common origin: the subjection to a development model that subordinates life to the accumulation of capital expressed in extractivism, that devalues, in practice, the conservation work and the care for life and natural heritage that, for centuries, women have done in these rural communities. Besides defending life, water and land, we ensure the health of families, food sovereignty, the rights and defense of Mother Earth by facing the capitalist system that is expressed in the predatory extractivism, that is inequitable, unjust, and that ignores women and prioritizes the reproduction of capital above the reproduction of life.

While it is true that the degradation and pollution processes affect the community as a whole, there exists greater vulnerability in women, children and the elderly due to direct exposure to pollutants and for not knowing the risk factors associated with them. The impacts of extractive activities alter the reproductive life cycle, whose regeneration rests on the shoulders of women. This is why we have the challenge to build the true “good living” recovering the memory of our peoples, where women play an important role to rebuild the future.

Today, women affected by oil and mining gather together. We are the women who fight tirelessly against the threat of mining expansion with the Mirador Project in Zamora Chinchipe; the San Carlos Panantza project in Morona Santiago; We, as women of different communities, are threatened with evictions from our territory in Intag by the Llurimagua project; We are women who face the violence of militarization of our territories as much as of our children, cousins, parents; we are women who are criminalized for resisting the mining project in Quimsacocha because we defend our water and life; We are Amazon women who walked from the jungle to the Ecuadorian capital to demand the government to stop oil exploitation in Shiwiar, Kichwa and Sapara territories and the exploitation of Yasuni; The women who gather today, represent the peoples who confront the evident disregard of the rights of indigenous peoples, peasants and the Pachamama.

THIS IS WHY WOMEN IN QUITO, GATHER AT THE MEETING OF WOMEN AND EXTRACTIVISM TO DEMAND REAL SOLUTIONS:

We do not want development alternatives that have meant the extinction of cultures and people; This is a development of death, of destruction, focused on exploitation, mainly of oil and minerals. This development has no future, we know it because we have already lived it for over 500 years. We have the alternative to development.

Therefore, we propose:

  • To recover food sovereignty
  • To recover water sovereignty
  • To recover energy sovereignty, which means the recovering of Mother Earth as a nutrient of our bodies, of our people
  • To produce to generate healthy food for the Good Living

So we are fighting for minerals to remain in the subsoil and for the oil from the Amazon to remain unexploded. These are the real solutions to climate change and a way to preserve our biodiversity, which is our true wealth.

And, this is also a way to demand reciprocity from urban areas, from which we have traditionally been victim of racism, from which we have been denied our rights, our cultures; now we propose and recognize that, mutually, it is necessary a common look of the different territories including urban ones to generate greater ties of integrated work.

WE HAVE THE REAL SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE.

WE DO NOT WANT DEVELOPMENT, WE HAVE OUR WEALTH AND LIFESTYLE THAT ARE RESPECTFUL OF LIFE AND NATURE.

Testimonies collected in “Life in the center and the oil underground: The Yasuní in feminist key” from Collective Critical Perspectives of the Territory from Feminism. 2014.


Declaración del Encuentro de Mujeres Frente al Extractivismo y al Cambio Climático

Quito, Ecuador. 14 de octubre de 2014

 “Es cuando hay grandes amenazas a la vida, cuando la vida misma está en juego, que las mujeres que parecían marginadas se levantan con todas sus fuerzas, con todo su compromiso, toda su resistencia, con toda su energía, es lo que ahora esta ocurriendo con las hijas del maíz, con las hijas de la tierra.” -Vandana Shiva

Una forma de explotar a la naturaleza es la extracción de petróleo y minerales que utiliza enormes cantidades de agua y la contamina pues produce desechos tóxicos; estos químicos enferman también a los suelos y a la gente. Las empresas petroleras y mineras cuando llegan a los territorios causan grandes problemas, rompen el tejido comunitario y lo reemplazan con conflictos en las familias, la división de comunidades, la confrontación entre unos y otros. Los daños producidos por estas actividades extractivas son a largo plazo, y duran mucho más que las utilidades económicas que dicen generar.

Las mujeres de las zonas petroleras sufrimos los impactos de las actividades extractivas en nuestros cuerpos; hemos denunciado el aumento de enfermedades gastrointestinales, respiratorias, dérmicas, el cáncer que crece en nuestros cuerpos y en nuestras familias. Las mujeres somos sabias cuando decimos que “no queremos alcoholismo, no queremos que haya prostitución, no queremos que los hombres nos golpeen. No queremos esta vida que, por más que nos ofrezcan escuelas, letrinas o casas de zinc, no nos haga sentir dignas”, como bien señala Patricia Gualinga lideresa del pueblo kichwa de Sarayaku haciendo referencia a las consecuencias que la XI Ronda Petrolera traería a sus vidas. Con las actividades petroleras y mineras también disminuyen los productos agrícolas debido a la contaminación, hay muerte de los animales, pérdida de zonas de cultivo, afectándose las fuentes de sustento de las familias y de la comunidad.

Con la ampliación petrolera y minera se ha intensificado el despojo de tierras y de los territorios de las comunidades campesinas e indígenas. Con este proceso de despojo no sólo se han vulnerado y desconocido los derechos sociales, económicos y colectivos de los pueblos sino que se ha exterminado pueblos enteros física y culturalmente para arrebatarles su tierras y explotar petróleo y minerales Un ejemplo es la desaparición de los pueblos Tetete y Sansaguari. Las mujeres sufren más con el despojo de los derechos y de sus territorios.

Nuestra presencia como mujeres en las luchas socio-ambientales ha cobrado protagonismo, esto ha permitido denunciar que la explotación de minerales, del petróleo, así como la explotación de las mujeres. Todas estas formas de explotación tienen un origen común: el sometimiento a un modelo de desarrollo que subordina la vida a la acumulación del capital expresado en el extractivismo que desvaloriza, en la práctica, el trabajo de conservación y cuidado de la vida y del patrimonio natural que durante siglos hemos realizado las mujeres en estas comunidades rurales. Nosotras además de defender la vida, el agua, el territorio, velamos por la salud de la familias, por la soberanía alimentaria, por los derechos y la defensa de la madre Tierra haciéndole frente al sistema capitalista que se expresa en el extractivismo depredador y que es inequitativo, injusto, ignora a las mujeres, prioriza la reproducción del capital por encima de la reproducción de la vida.

Si bien es cierto que los procesos de degradación y contaminación afectan a la comunidad en su conjunto, existe mayor vulnerabilidad en mujeres, niños y niñas y personas de la tercera edad, debido a la exposición directa a los contaminantes y al desconocimiento de los principales factores de riesgo asociados a ellos. Los impactos de las actividades extractivas alteran el ciclo de reproducción de la vida, cuya regeneración recae sobre las espaldas de las mujeres. Por eso Tenemos el desafío de construir el verdadero “buen vivir” recuperando la memoria de nuestros pueblos, ahí las mujeres jugamos un rol importante para reconstruir el futuro.

Hoy nos juntamos mujeres afectadas por petróleo y minería. Mujeres que luchan incansablemente contra la amenaza de la expansión minera con el Proyecto Mirador en Zamora Chinchipe, el proyecto Panantza San Carlos en Morona Santiago; estamos mujeres de comunidades amenazadas de ser expulsadas de su territorio en Intag por el proyecto Llurimagua; mujeres que nos enfrentamos a la violencia de la militarización tanto sobre nuestros territorios como sobre nuestro hijos, primos hermanos, padres; mujeres que somos criminalizadas por resistir a la minería en Quimsacocha, porque defendemos el agua y la vida; mujeres amazónicas que caminaron desde la selva a la capital ecuatoriana para demandar al gobierno la no explotación petrolera en los territorios Shiwiar, Kichwa, Sápara y por la No explotación del Yasuní; nos juntamos hoy mujeres de pueblos que dan la cara ante la evidente vulneración de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas, campesinos y de la Pachamama.

POR ESO LAS MUJERES REUNIDAS EN QUITO EN EL ENCUENTRO DE MUJERES Y EXTRACTIVISMO DEMANDAMOS VERDADERAS SOLUCIONES:

No queremos alternativas de desarrollo que han significado extinción de las culturas y los pueblos; este es un desarrollo de muerte, de destrucción, centrado en la explotación, principalmente de petróleo y minerales. Este desarrollo no tiene futuro, lo sabemos porque ya lo hemos vivido desde hace más de 500 años. Nosotras tenemos la alternativa al desarrollo.

Por eso PLANTEAMOS:

  • recuperar la soberanía alimentaria
  • recuperar a soberanía hídrírca
  • recuperar la soberanía energética , es decir
  • recuperar a la madre tierra como nutriente de nuestros cuerpos, de nuestra gente
  • producir para generar alimentos sanos para el Buen Vivir

Por eso estamos luchando para que los minerales se queden en el subsuelo, y que el petróleo de la amazonía se quede si explotar. Estas son las verdaderas soluciones al cambio climático y una forma de conservar nuestra biodiversidad que es nuestra verdadera riqueza.

Así también demandamos la reciprocidad de los pueblos urbanos, de los que tradicionalmente hemos recibido racismo, negación hacia nuestros derechos, nuestras culturas; ahora planteamos reconocernos mutuamente para generar mayores lazos de trabajo conjunto, un mirada común de los distintos territorios incluido el urbano.

NOSOTRAS TENEMOS LAS VERDADERAS SOLUCIONES AL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO

NOSOTRAS NO QUEREMOS DESARROLLO, YA TENEMOS NUESTRA RIQUEZA Y FORMAS DE VIDA QUE SON RESPETUOSAS DE LA VIDA Y LA NATURALEZA

Testimonios recogidos en “La vida en el centro y el crudo bajo tierra: El Yasuní en clave feminista” del Colectivo Miradas Críticas del Territorio desde el Feminismo. 2014.

In Photos: Amazon Women on the Frontlines of Climate Change Impacts and Solutions

Women around the world are experiencing the impacts of a changing climate on a daily basis. While they remain disproportionately impacted by interwoven environmental degradation and social injustice, these women are increasingly taking the lead in the movement for climate change solutions that address the root causes of this crisis and move towards a just and healthy world.

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Photo by Caroline Bennett

In the Ecuadorian Amazon, groups of women are rising with fierce determination, taking direct action to protect their communities and families, diverse cultural and ecologic heritage, and Pachamama, Mother Earth. After decades of fossil fuel and mineral extraction in their homeland, these women have made a bold call to end the destruction; keep the oil in the soil.

Amazon Women on the Frontlines of Climate Change is a photo series seeking to provide a lens into the lives and stories of some of these women leaders. Workshops held with Kichwa, Shiwiar, Sápara, and Waorani women in the Ecuadorian Amazon helped produce these “speaking” images, which combine portraiture with written testimonies, hand-painted by the woman in the border around her photograph. In these self-reflections, the women speak on their culture, history, traditions, struggles, and reasons for fighting oil extraction in their ancestral lands.

Amazon Women on the Frontlines of Climate Change was created by Ecuadorian photographer, Felipe Jácome, and Amazon Watch Editorial Director and Chief Storyteller, Caroline Bennett, as part of a project jointly sponsored by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International), Amazon Watch, and Acción Ecológica.

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Photo by Caroline Bennett

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Portrait series by Felipe Jacome. View more of his incredible work at http://www.felipejacome.com

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Photo by Caroline Bennett

Select prints will continue to be shown as part of a traveling photography exhibit, bringing the stories and solutions of these indigenous women to audiences within the Amazonian region and across the world. On December 8, 2014, photos will be featured at WECAN International’s ‘Women Leading Solutions of the Frontlines of Climate Change-Lima’ event in Peru, with more information available here.

photo exhibit in Coca

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Blog by Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN International Executive Director) and Emily Arasim (Special Projects & Communications Coordinator)