A Healthy Environment is a fundamental Human Right indispensable for the exercise of other Human Rights. Access to breathable air, safe water, and a balanced ecosystem that sustains life should be universal. This is why we fund grassroots projects by organizations that defend their communities’ ways of life and territorial sovereignty. Multiple reports and research have shown that land owned or governed by Indigenous Peoples or Local Communities harbors much more biodiversity than other conserved areas. Though they make up less than 5 percent of the global population, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities support about 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Protecting the territories and ways of life of Indigenous Peoples equates to protecting all life on Earth.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it. Whatever we
do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are
bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle,
“Indigenous peoples from every corner of the globe recognize that other species are part of nature and as human beings, we are also part of nature.” Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, environmental activist and co-director of the pavilion of the World Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative, Indigenous Mbororo Pastoralist
Indigenous Peoples often see themselves and Nature as part of the same complex and delicate web of life. Western worldviews mostly alienated Humankind and Nature from each other: Nature was to be conquered by Man, its gifts were resources to exploit, wildlife was to be fenced-up. This gave way to a pernicious dominant doctrine that dictated the division of the natural world between places to be exploited and recklessly depleted of "resources" and sites to be conserved, fortresses wilderness that only existed in fairy tales. This approach to conservation often led, and still leads, to the eviction of the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities who have called these places home for millennia. Because of this, they have endured displacement and denial of their rights, a profound injustice, especially when we acknowledge that these are not the ways of life endangering ecosystems, biodiversity and ultimately our own survival as a species. These are ways of life that have protected Nature since long before the concept of conservation was even created.
Along with funding projects that protect Indigenous stewardship of Nature, one of our goals is to raise awareness about how protecting Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities' land rights and ways of living in harmony with Nature benefits all living beings.
We aim to help communicate how access to health and water also depends on a balanced environment for all of Earth's species. To fight for universal access to both these Human Rights means fighting to restore and protect ways of life that are one with Nature.