These speakers rarely leave their ancestral lands. They come to us now because they strongly believe that their wisdom about life and the environment is critical for all of us. They seek to build alliances with each other and with those from modern, urbanised consumer cultures, to help design improved models of environmental stewardship that facilitate the flourishing of diversity.
Living high up in Colombia's Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, the profoundly spiritual Arhuaco people lived in seclusion for centuries.
This is the first time they have sent a delegation of their Mamos (spiritual leaders) to Europe to speak to the Western world and share their messages and the practices needed to maintain balance.
Highly attuned to nature, they believe they exist to care for the balance of the Earth – a world they say we are destroying. They ask why we fail to understand that the Earth is a living being and by damaging part of it, we damage the whole body.
Benki and Moisés Piyãkoare leaders and shamans from the Ashaninka community of Apiwtxa (State of Acre, Brazil).
World-renowned for their work through Apwitxa to regenerate, restore and protect Amazon forest ecosystems, and in support of forest peoples’ struggles for their rights, they have been recognised by many prizes, including the United Nations Equator Prize in 2017 and the Newton Prize 2018.
Inhabiting the last remaining forest galleries of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, the Guarani’s indigenous territories are on the frontline of defence against the rapacious expansion of industrial agricultural monocultures.
Brazil’s Atlantic Forest that has lost 92% of its forest cover, but through partnerships with other Guarani, the Ashaninka and local organisations the Guarani of Brazil are regenerating forests, replanting lost species, and defending biodiverse land from industrial expansion. In 2018 they won the Newton Prize for this work.
Living in the Indian Himalaya, the Idu Mishmi say that tigers are their brothers and have a sophisticated religious system managed by the shamans attending, that seeks to maintain healthy relations between humans and all the other species inhabiting their mountains.
Their system is so successful that there are more tigers and other endangered species present on their territories than in neighbouring tiger reserves and protected areas.
Inhabiting the fragile Kalahari ecosystem for thousands of years as hunter-gatherers, the Ju/’hoan San have established the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, the first internationally recognized land conservancy in Namibia.
At Independence Mr.ǂOma Tsamkxao was elected the "Ju/'hoan Traditional Authority. Deeply committed to egalitarian social processes, Mr. ǂOma has worked tirelessly to promote the institutions and environmental management principles on which the Nyae Nyae Conservancy is based.
Originating 500 years ago in the fragile Rajasthani Dessert the Vishnoi are followers of the 29 principles for environmentally sustainable communities.
In the 18th century 363 of them were killed embracing trees that were to be cut down, which is where the term 'tree-hugging' originates.
Mahesh will present the principles and talk about his community.