In May 2023, forty participants from eleven countries came together in the Ecuadorian Amazon to share strategies and build connections, at the “Earth Defenders Toolkit Gathering” convened by Digital Democracy. . Our original dream for this event was to create an opportunity for our local partners to meet each other and share their experiences of using technology to protect their territories. However, the event exceeded all our expectations and seeded what we now acknowledge to be a network of kinship.
We had no idea how powerful it would be to share four days with Earth Defenders from territories across the world, including the Solomon Islands, Suriname, Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Ecuador, Brazil, Turtle Island (USA and Canada) Peru, Guyana and Thailand. Nor did we know how nourishing it would be to take the time to listen deeply to each other’s stories, experiences, challenges and strategies for protecting territories..
We felt it was important to document and share a glimpse of this Gathering, recognizing the urgency of listening to the testimonies and experiences of Indigenous Peoples and communities that are at the frontlines of the fight against climate change.
This week is the New York Climate Week, the largest annual climate event of its kind, bringing together political change makers, local decision-takers and civil society representatives from all over the world to continue articulating climate action. For us, these are urgent times to remember and amplify the voices of those on the frontlines: Indigenous Peoples and Earth Defenders protecting the world’s biodiversity.
This is the first of five videos that we will be releasing over the next few months. We hope, to amplify Earth Defenders’ voices and work, and extend the network of relationships that supports their critical work protecting the world’s biodiversity.
Watch, share, and stay tuned for more!