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    Leila Salazar Amazon rights AYA2019 World Ayahuasca Conference Girona ICEERS

    Sacred Activism: Taking Action for the Amazon, Rights and the Climate to Restore the Balance of Mother Earth


    Amazon Watch was founded in 1996 to protect the Amazon rainforest and to advance the rights of indigenous peoples by supporting them in defense of their territory and against threats and destruction. They partner with organizations throughout the Amazon and around the world, strategically focusing on stopping Amazon destruction because already 20% has been deforested and another 20% has been degraded. Climate scientists say that at 50% deforestation, the amazon could reach its tipping point – the point at which it will no longer function as an ecosystem.

    In her talk at AYA2019, Leila Salazar-López spoke about the importance of the Amazon in mitigating climate chaos and the role that indigenous people play as caretakers of the forest. The protection of the forest is intrinsically connected to the defense of indigenous peoples’ rights and their territories. This is confirmed by countless studies and thousands of years of indigenous peoples protecting their lands and ecosystems.

    Amazon rights and sacred activism

    The most biodiverse part of the amazon is in the Andes. It’s an area called the sacred headwaters in the centre of the Yasuni National Park. Amazon Watch is working on the Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative, together with many partner NGOs and indigenous peoples and organizations, to permanently protect 60 million acres of rainforest in indigenous territories to keep them free of industrial resource extraction. According to Amazon Watch, leaving oil in the ground is essential, necessary, and possible.

    This is one of the solutions – permanently protecting the most biodiverse areas of the amazon. Amazon watch is working with organizations like the Sarayaku who have their own indigenous-led proposal to protect the living forest called the Kawsak Sacha.  Currently, they focus on working with women in Ecuador, because women have been on the front lines facing the threats, as those who give birth, plant the crops, and feed their children. They cannot do these things if their lands are contaminated. By standing up against resource extraction, women face a lot of threats, including death threats. Women have united to form a collective called the Women Defenders of the Amazon against Extraction.

    In Brazil there is a national association of indigenous people in Brazil, where, since Bolsonaro was elected, many years of progress are being undone. Opening up the Brazilian Amazon to agribusiness means destroying the Amazon. International companies are benefiting from deforestation of the amazon – which Amazon Watch outlines in an important report.

    Call for help

    Amazon Watch needs your help. UN reports say we have less than 12 years to turn around climate chaos and less than 10 years to turn around the extinction crisis.

    We gathered at AYA2019 because our minds are opened. We are here to respond to what the sacred, master plants have shown us. Opening our minds, our consciousness, healing ourselves. And we also need to heal the planet. We need to hear the words and cries of the indigenous people of the Amazon – who in addition to asking for support in protecting the forest, are also calling on the global ayahuasca community to be mindful and responsible as ayahuasca is extracted from the region.

    It is a great responsibility to take action for the Amazon; to watch and to hold these governments and corporations accountable. Indigenous people cannot do it alone they have protected the forest since colonization, and it’s not solely their responsibility. Amazon Watch is inviting the global ayahuasca community to join in their work to defend indigenous rights and protect the amazon and to work together as an ecosystem to protect the amazon and mother earth.

    Visit to get involved.

    Categories: NEWS , Ayahuasca , AYACONFERENCE
    Tags: ayahuasca