As Kenyan women flee drought-instigated violence (and crocodiles), Indigenous people around the world continue to demand their voices be heard and accounted for. In Glasgow, Indigenous delegates gathered across the river from the COP26 convention center to hold a vigil for the 1,005 environmental and land defenders — one-third of them indigenous — murdered since the Paris Agreement was signed six years ago.
“The COP is a big business, a continuation of colonialism where people come not to listen to us, but to make money from our land and natural resources,” Ita Mendoza, an Indigenous land defender from the Mixteca region in what is now southern Mexico, told The Guardian. “What benefits does the COP bring when more than a thousand people fighting to keep the planet alive have been killed [since Paris]?”
Only about one-third of the civil society groups that usually attend COP are in Glasgow, and Mendoza’s Futuros Indígenas (Indigenous Futures) collective, which crowdfunded resources to be able to attend the conference, is not credentialed for the full two weeks. Despite the drumbeat of net-zero emissions pledges, the rights and interests of indigenous peoples and local communities have been mainly overlooked.
In what is now the United States, Indigenous groups are losing patience with Biden, who promised to be a “climate president.” Waniya Locke, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux, told E&E she is “fed up” with Biden’s inaction. “There is a pipeline going through our main waterway that 10 million people drink from,” she said. “If it broke, it would take 45 minutes to reach my water. It’s all hands on deck now.” (Kenya: The Guardian; COP colonialism: The Guardian; Net-zero pledges: Thomson Reuters Foundation; U.S.: E&E $; Climate Signals background: Drought)