Although they contribute very little to the underlying causes of climate change, indigenous peoples are helping enhance the resilience of ecosystems they inhabit and are interpreting and reacting to the impacts of climate change in creative ways, drawing on traditional knowledge and other technologies to find solutions which may help society at large to cope with impending changes.
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Press Release, 16th April 2008
LifeMosaic's 'Community Conversations on Climate Change' project is based on the following rationale:
Indigenous peoples in the humid tropics are often impoverished and marginalised and will be among the most affected by climate change and by large-scale mitigation projects.
Their territories are targeted by extractive industries that contribute to emissions, and information about climate change is central to their decision-making when faced with these developments;
Their continued stewardship of their territories, and their dynamic traditional knowledge are essential to cultural and biological resilience in times of rapid change;
Yet indigenous peoples are frequently marginalised from the global conversation on climate change. They have limited access to information about the changes they are experiencing and how these relate to the industrial growth society.
Community Conversations on Climate Change
LifeMosaic, working closely with 30 communities and 20 indigenous peoples organisations in South East Asia and Latin America, has produced a unique set of climate change literacy films, known collectively as 'Fever'.
The project was developed after consultations with over 120 indigenous leaders, community members and support groups from around the humid tropics, who agreed that climate literacy films for communities were powerful tools, urgently needed and in high demand. The films equip indigenous communities across the humid tropics with information they need to prepare for climate change impacts, through self determined actions involving both adaptation and mitigation.
Dissemination will focus on areas where large-scale extractive and agro-industrial developments are planned, as well as areas where forest carbon projects for climate change mitigation are taking place. These are areas where LifeMosaic and our partners believe the films will have the most impact - providing relevant information to communities who are confronted with immediate decisions about land-use change on their territories.
The films are designed to empower indigenous communities in the tropics, helping to deepen their understanding about systemic issues surrounding climate change; providing communities with information to support their defence of their rights and their forests; and helping them to plan self-determined strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation. The films are also designed as resources for local facilitators, helping to strengthen the capacity of networks and organisations in their awareness-raising and advocacy work on climate change.
The films particularly aim to raise critical awareness between local knowledge of changing weather patterns and existing strategies for community resilience on the one hand; and global awareness of the climate crisis and its roots in the industrial growth society on the other.
Where these two sets of information connect, powerful transformations can occur, resulting in communities taking additional concrete steps to protect their territories, cultures and forests; and to strengthen their resilience to climate change through self-determined actions for mitigation and adaptation. We believe that targeted, facilitated, and widespread distribution of 'Fever – A Video Guide' will support these outcomes.
Fever – A Video Guide
Fever - A Video Guide consists of 4 short films for indigenous communities to raise awareness and build knowledge about the issue of climate change and how it relates to indigenous peoples, cultures, rights and territories. In these films we hear the stories of indigenous peoples from communities in Ecuador, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Part 1: Fever explains what climate change is and why it is so important to indigenous peoples.
Part 2: Impacts shows the impacts of large-scale land use changes (plantations, coal mining and oil extraction) on both the global climate as well as on indigenous communities.
Part 3: Organisation gives examples of organisational tools and strategies used by indigenous peoples to protect their cultures, territories and rights.
Part 4: Resilience shows the stories of 5 indigenous communities who are increasing their resilience to climate change and natural resource scarcity by strengthening their traditional knowledge, customary law and agricultural systems.
Fever was awarded the 2010 award for Creativity and Contribution to the Indigenous Narrative by the Indigenous Peoples’ Latin American Network for Film and Communication at the 10th International Indigenous Film and Video Festival in Quito, Ecuador.
Why screen Fever – A Video Guide?
These films are designed to be screened in indigenous communities around the world, to help share information which supports communities to defend their rights and determine their futures. The films are also designed as resources for local facilitators, helping to strengthen the capacity of networks and organisations in their awareness-raising and advocacy work on climate change.
Finally the films can be used to bring indigenous peoples voices to audiences such as government officials; to all those whose work relates to indigenous peoples, forests and climate change; and in schools, universities, film festivals and other public events.
Who is 'Fever - A Video Guide' for?
(a) To hear the voices of indigenous peoples in the tropics: their experiences, struggles, and strategies;
(b) To deepen understanding of changes that are happening with forests, indigenous peoples and the global climate;
(c) To gain strength from examples of community organizing, unity-building and planning for the future;
(d) To gain inspiration by seeing examples of communities who remain strong even when confronted with change.
How to use 'Fever – A Video Guide'?
The films can simply be screened. For maximum impact they can also be supported by a community facilitator as part of a wider meeting, screening, workshop or training.
Download 'Fever - Faciliator's Guide'.
Part 1: Fever explains what climate change is and why it is so important to indigenous peoples. The film covers: what is climate change; what is carbon; what is the greenhouse effect? What are the underlying causes of climate change? What are the impacts of climate change? (LifeMosaic, 2010)
Part 2: Impacts shows how large-scale industries such as plantations, coal mining and oil extraction impact on indigenous peoples livelihoods and rights as well as contributing to global climate change. (LifeMosaic, 2010)
Part 3: Organisation gives examples of organisational tools and strategies used by indigenous peoples to protect their cultures, territories and rights. The film covers: awareness raising; organisational tools; networks and communication; petitions; legal cases and international law; unity, life plan; spirituality; movements. (LifeMosaic, 2010)
Resilience is the ability to cope and recover from abrupt change. Indigenous peoples who are organised, confident to adjust their systems to changing circumstances, while maintaining their identity strong, will be better able to withstand shocks caused by climate change. The film shows 5 examples of this: cultural resilience; traditional forest management; strengthening customary law to live within the limits of the environment; maintaining seed diversity; and adapting traditional systems to cope with water scarcity. (LifeMosaic, 2010)
A Chance to Speak, A Chance to Listen
A Chance to Speak, A Chance to Listen
Although indigenous peoples contribute very little to the underlying causes of climate change, many are now being severely impacted by erratic weather, flooding and drought. In this short film, indigenous peoples from a variety of tribal and indigenous groups across Indonesia and the Philippines offer their messages to policy makers at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15) in December 2009. (LifeMosaic, 2009)
Bugta is a message from the Talaandig tribe, Mindanao, Philippines for COP15. The Talaandig community will hold a ritual during the Copenhagen summit, to pray for the leaders to protect the earth, and guarantee justice for all beings. (LifeMosaic, 2009)
Eyes on the Kampar Peninsula
Eyes on the Kampar Peninsula
The Kampar Peninsula is 700,000 hectares of peatland up to 15 metres deep, on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. The peat contains more than 2 billion tonnes of carbon. 400,000 hectares of forest remain standing, 300,000 hectares have been converted to oil palm and pulp and paper plantations. All eyes are on the Kampar: loggers, carbon traders, and plantation companies including the giant RAPP pulpwood planter. But where does this leave the Akit and Melayu indigenous peoples who inhabit the peninsula? This film tells the human story behind one of the biggest carbon stores in the world. (LifeMosaic, 2009)
Climate Change News
As Paris climate agreement comes into force, inhabitants of Amazon rainforest demand recognition of key role their communities play in conservation (Collyns / The Guardian)
Our friends at RAN have launched an excellent tool see what the biggest banks are really funding in palm oil, pulp and paper, timber and rubber companies.
For more than a century, the Maasai have been corralled into smaller pieces of land in order to conserve the environment and animals— making room for deluxe suites and armies of tourists. (Friedman-Rudovsky / Vice.com)
Peru rolled out the green carpet this week for the Conference of the Parties (COP 20), the United Nations climate change talks, amidst harsh criticisms from indigenous leaders and activists who say the government is far from eco-friendly. (Stephanie Boyd / Sraight.com)
A story about the Wixárika People, one of the last living Pre-Hispanic cultures in Latin America, and their struggle to preserve Wirikuta, their most sacred territory. (Tracy Barnett / IC Magazine)
An essential component of the agreement must be the recognition of a critical approach to climate change mitigation: the recognition of community forest rights. (Tony La Viña / Jakarta Post)
Deforestation is a major cause of global warming, and so we all have a stake in helping these communities defend their resources from wealthy ranchers, loggers, miners, farmers and drug traffickers. (David Kaimowitz / Ford Foundation)
Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause warming not only at high latitudes but also across tropical regions, according to new research. (Science Daily)
A changing climate will inevitably have an impact on gender relations in rural communities, but not enough is being done to boost the resilience of women. (IRIN)
Amazon Indians from Peru and Brazil have joined together to stop a Canadian oil company destroying their land and threatening the lives of uncontacted tribes. (Survival International)
Documents and Downloads
A Training Manual on Advocacy, Lobbying and Negotiation Skills
Indigenous peoples assert that rights cannot be compromised; however, indigenous peoples’ delegates have recognized the need to strengthen existing skills and capacities for lobbying and advocacy. AIPP member/partner organizations pointed out the need for a manual to help empower indigenous peoples with knowledge and skills for effective advocay and lobbying to help empower indigenous peoples with knowledge and skills for effective advocay and lobbying. Thus AIPP developed this training manual on “Advocacy, Lobbying and Negotiation Skills for Indigenous Peoples in Climate Change and REDD+.” (AIPP, 2013)
- A Training Manual on Advocacy, Lobbying and Negotiation Skills for Indigenous Peoples in Climate Change and REDD+ (pdf - 2 MB)
The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia: A Regional Review
This report reviews the economics of climate change in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It confirms that the region is highly vulnerable to climate change, demonstrates that a wide range of adaptation measures are already being applied, and that it has great potential to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions globally. (Asian Development Bank, 2009)
Pushback: Local Power, Global Realignment
If 2009 was the end of the hinterland and the beginning of a new globalized forest era, 2010 was a year of pushback. Worldwide, the news was full of reports of forest communities and Indigenous Peoples pushing back at land grabs and shaping policy at the national and global levels, and of governments countering and trying to contain community rights. This report takes stock of the current status of forest rights and tenure globally, assesses the key issues and events of 2010 that shape possibilities to improve local rights and livelihoods, and identifies key questions and challenges that the world will face in 2011. (Rights and Resources Initiative, 2011)
Reducing forestry emissions in Indonesia
This report published by Center for International Forestry Research outlines the current status and trends for Indonesia's forests and stresses that forest conversion must cease for Indonesia to achieve emissions reductions through forestry, since expanding plantations alone will not suffice. (CIFOR, 2010)
Our Climate, Our Say!
Community briefing on climate change. An excellent resource introducing the issues of climate change and climate justice. (Friends of the Earth International, 2011)
The Sukutan community, Laikipia, Kenya, survives because of the spring they live next to. They use it for their livestock and share it with other communities, as well as with the abundant wildlife in the area. With rising climate change impacts they have witnessed an increase in inter-tribal conflict but lessons can be learnt from living together. (ResourceAfrica UK, 2012)
Photo essays and video projects from indigenous communities facing ecosystem disruption make up the collaborative project Conversations with the Earth. (Conversations with the Earth, 2011)
The Root of the Problem
Deforestation and forest degradation have been occurring for thousands of years. Both deforestation, which completely removes the forest canopy, and degradation, which maintains the canopy but causes losses of carbon, are important sources of global warming pollution, as well as threats to biodiversity and to the livelihoods of forest peoples. In this report, the Union of Concerned Scientists explains these drivers and shows that they have changed fundamentally in the twenty-first century. The report focuses on the economic agents that play a critical role in deforestation. Author: Union of Concerned Scientists
East African pastoralists record their climate reality
Maasai pastoralists from Kenya recorded their experiences of coping with seasonal and annual climatic variability as part of the project Pastoralist Transformations to Resilient Futures: Understanding Climate from the Ground Up.
Africa Talks Climate
Africa Talks Climate (ATC) is the most extensive research conducted to date on public understanding of climate change in Africa. Fieldwork completed in 2009 convened discussions with over 1000 citizens and nearly 200 opinion leaders in ten countries across sub-Saharan Africa. ATC sought to assess current attitudes and understanding and identify how media and communication can best support Africans’ response to climate change.
AfricaAdapt is an independent bilingual network (French/English) focused exclusively on Africa. The Network’s aim is to facilitate the flow of climate change adaptation knowledge for sustainable livelihoods between researchers, policy makers, civil society organisations and communities who are vulnerable to climate variability and change across the continent. Their activities use the latest web-based applications, face-to-face interactions, and other media for: sharing resources; facilitating learning; and strengthening the African adaptation community.
Use our films
Information and education are powerful tools for community empowerment and social change. Watch our films to find out more about the issues of climate change. Then share this knowledge with you community, family and friends.
Our films have a primary audience of indigenous and forest dependent communities and their supporting organisations. If you are connected with any such groups and would like to discuss how these films might complement your activities please get in touch. The films are available free of charge.
Our films have also been as educational and advocacy tools in many different settings including conferences, film festivals, schools and universities, and in NGO, company and government meetings. Please contact us if you would like to discuss organising such a screening.
A LifeMosaic film screening in Pandumaan-Sipituhuta villages.