PUYO: Birds chirp near a river in the Ecuadorian jungle, five hours from the capital Quito, as Gregorio Mirabal expresses fear for the 500 tribes that often act as guardians of the Amazon rainforest and who face attacks, and even death, as a result.
Mirabel, the head of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA), calls on developed nations who will gather at the COP26 – the climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland – to collaborate with indigenous people to protect the 8.4 million sq km of the Amazon.
Mirabal is one representative of the 3.5 million indigenous people of the Amazon, who live across nine countries and territories – Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
A member of the Wakuenai Kurripaco people, Mirabal, 54, says that 17 per cent of the forest has already been wiped out by oil and mineral exploitation, as well as pollution and deforestation for agriculture and livestock.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF THE AMAZON?
There are two scenarios: (one is the) apocalypse, with no return. People will run out of oxygen, the planet will warm up in 50 years, by two or even three degrees. Life on this planet will not be possible if the Amazon disappears.
The other scenario (is) that our children can bathe in this river, learn about what is here, see the trees, the biodiversity, see this macaw fly. This is the scenario we propose to the world if it helps us protect 80 per cent of the Amazon.