The devastation caused by climate change and the extractive forces that drive it were close at hand in Glasgow, Monday, even if the events are far away. “My dad, he was born in a village that doesn’t exist anymore,” Emtithal Mahmoud, a Sudanese-American poet and UNHCR goodwill ambassador, told world leaders Monday.
For Claudelice Silva dos Santos, a delegate from the Brazilian Amazon, it was a phone call last week telling her 30 pickup trucks of armed men had attacked the 80 families who live in her community fighting to protect their land from ranching and logging interests. “For more than 10 years, these workers have been there, resisting for their land rights and … ranchers simply arrive here and want to kill everyone,” Dos Santos, whose brother and sister-in-law were murdered for their activism, told The Guardian. “Police and local authorities know about the threats but have done nothing to protect the community.”
Activists held a vigil in Glasgow for the 1,005 environmental defenders murdered since the 2015 Paris agreement — one-third of whom were Indigenous. “We do not just want to be observers,” Andrea Ixchíu, a Maya K’iche’ leader, journalist and human rights defender based in Guatemala, said at the memorial. “If you want to create more solutions to the climate crisis, it’s really important to give land back to Indigenous communities.” (Mahmoud: Reuters; Amazon attack: The Guardian; Family murdered: The Guardian; Murders since Paris: Democracy Now)