Fridays For Future Digital, the online student climate strike movement spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic, are launching a new 8-week-long digital campaign to raise awareness about how the climate emergency disproportionately impacts indigenous communities and environmental defenders. The campaign will be hosted alongside fellow environmental activist groups Polluters Out and Extinction Rebellion, with each of the 8 weeks focusing on different regions of the world.
Together, the three climate advocacy groups will be launching a global 8-week digital campaign to stand up for environmental defenders and indigenous communities who are being disproportionately affected by the climate crisis.
Each week will raise awareness about the climate injustices in different regions of the world, starting with Latin America, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, Central and South Asia, Oceania, Southeast and East Asia, North America and finally, Europe and Russia.
While the land rights of indigenous peoples are enshrined in international law, they are often ignored by national governments in the name of economic or industrial development. Communities’ rights are not only overlooked, but they are also marginalised in the decision-making process of the very ecologically destructive activities such as mining and drilling, which affects their livelihoods, health and surrounding environment.
Almost 80% of the indigenous peoples in the world live across the Asia-Pacific region, who are already exceptionally vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise, coastal flooding and extreme weather events such as typhoons and flash floods.
Environmental defenders in the Philippines in particular are considered among the most in danger of having their health and environment undermined, despite their minimal contribution to the climate crisis and activism to protect ancestral natural resources.
According to Fridays For Future, indigenous peoples care for and protect almost 22% of the planet’s surface and 80% of the remaining biodiversity – despite only making up 5% of the global population.
“Climate justice must represent social justice. Climate defenders, especially those from disadvantaged communities and the Global South, are raising their voices against the injustice of paying a debt that is not theirs, of suffering the effects of the climate crisis that we did not produce,” said Peru-based activist Leila Escobar.
“Many of them are murdered, silenced and suppressed, because in our nations the polluters are the ones with privileges. We have to make their fight worthwhile.”
Over the course of the 8-week digital campaign, the climate organisation trio are calling for people all over the globe to participate in online climate action, which will involve posting photos with a sign saying #DefendtheDefenders on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to demand action from governments and corporations.
The campaign will additionally see a range of live-streams and webinars on related topics hosted to educate participants on various topics related to environmental defenders and the plight of indigenous communities.
All of us can take digital climate action now to demand justice for environmental defenders and indigenous communities. More information on digital striking here.
Lead image courtesy of 350.org.