How traditional land stewardship can save life on Earth

April 07, 2021 Nia Tero Season 1 Episode 5
How traditional land stewardship can save life on Earth
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How traditional land stewardship can save life on Earth
Apr 07, 2021 Season 1 Episode 5
Nia Tero

In the latest episode of Seedcast, we explore the ways in which Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous land sovereignty are essential tools to stop mass extinctions, alleviate climate change, and prevent future pandemics. We learn about the complicated history of Indigenous peoples and Western-guided conservation initiatives, and why efforts like the global 30x30 initiative to protect at least 30% of the land and sea on Earth by 2030 are essential (and why they may not go far enough.) Our guests include: climate activist Michael McGarrell of the Patamona people in Guyana, policy maker Jennifer ‘Jing’ Tauli Corpuz of the Kankana-ey Igorot people in the Philippines, and Eric Dinerstein, Director of WildTech and the Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions program at RESOLVE. 

Produced by Jenny Asarnow; edited by Kavita Pillay; hosted by Jessica Ramirez.

Learn more about  organizations mentioned in this episode:

Seedcast is a production of Nia Tero, a global nonprofit which supports Indigenous land guardianship around the world through policy, partnership, and storytelling initiatives.

Enjoy the Seedcast podcast on the Nia Tero website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast platforms.

Keep up with Seedcast on Instagram and use the hashtag #Seedcast.

Show Notes Transcript

In the latest episode of Seedcast, we explore the ways in which Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous land sovereignty are essential tools to stop mass extinctions, alleviate climate change, and prevent future pandemics. We learn about the complicated history of Indigenous peoples and Western-guided conservation initiatives, and why efforts like the global 30x30 initiative to protect at least 30% of the land and sea on Earth by 2030 are essential (and why they may not go far enough.) Our guests include: climate activist Michael McGarrell of the Patamona people in Guyana, policy maker Jennifer ‘Jing’ Tauli Corpuz of the Kankana-ey Igorot people in the Philippines, and Eric Dinerstein, Director of WildTech and the Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions program at RESOLVE. 

Produced by Jenny Asarnow; edited by Kavita Pillay; hosted by Jessica Ramirez.

Learn more about  organizations mentioned in this episode:

Seedcast is a production of Nia Tero, a global nonprofit which supports Indigenous land guardianship around the world through policy, partnership, and storytelling initiatives.

Enjoy the Seedcast podcast on the Nia Tero website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast platforms.

Keep up with Seedcast on Instagram and use the hashtag #Seedcast.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:00:00] From Coast Salish Territory, this is Seedcast. I'm your host, Jessica Ramirez. I played a lot of Zelda as a teenager. Do you know this video game? What I remember about it is the wilderness. This elf-like character running around in the woods with brown boots and a green outfit, looking like a [forsnow 00:00:31] from a children's [laughs] fairytale. Playing Zelda was my escape into the outdoors. I remember sharing this game with my two younger sisters. And we would watch each other play, taking turns, [laughs] watching this little woodsy character roam through the forest, discovering a new place of nature and wonder [laughs]. We did this from the air-conditioned living room of my Texas home because it was too hot to be outside. And the irony in playing that video game that brought this one character into the outdoors, was just how much it kept me and my sisters inside. South Texas is hot and humid and muggy. I didn't grow up with a particularly special relationship to the land. In Texas, we drove everywhere. We traveled in a vehicle from one air-conditioned space to another.

[00:01:28] The only time that the outdoors was really welcomed was when we went to the beach, or when I went fishing with my dad on our boat on the Gulf of Mexico. The salty, warm ocean air felt like such a relief from those hot days. It was in these rare moments that I truly appreciated the outdoors. So if you've been listening to Seedcast, you know our team is growing this season and it feels so good to have the support. And one of the people I've been working with is Jenny Asarnow, who produced this week's episode. Hi, Jenny.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:02:34] Hey, Jess. It's great to talk with you. So this very indoor climate-controlled experience that you were talking about is the norm in a lot of places, right? So many of us are glued to our screens these days.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:02:49] Oh, yeah. Especially now.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:02:51] Your story made me think of someone I spoke with when I was producing today's episode.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:02:56] Oh, yeah? Tell me more.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:02:58] Yeah. So first, just so you know, later in this episode there is some brief mentions of violence. So I just wanted to share that content warning. The person that I wanted to tell you about though, his name is Michael McGarrell. He's an Indigenous activist from the Patamona Nation in Guyana and he's a storytelling fellow at Nia Tero. Michael's relationship with nature growing up was really different from yours. He grew up in a village in the Amazon rainforest.

Michael McGarrell: [00:03:29] I grew up in my way of life. I grew up learning how we live. You know, my mom would teach me things, my dad would teach me things. I would go with my uncles, sometimes in the forest we'd go hunting or we go to gather different things that we need. And I would have learned my way. And my way, I'm talking about the Indigenous way, you know, my culture, my traditions. It is one of the things which I think has helped me, because I know who I am as an Indigenous person. I know where I came from as an Indigenous person and I know what I want as an Indigenous person.

[00:04:06]Jenny Asarnow: [00:04:06] Michael is concerned about how many people are disconnected from nature and says that disconnect has consequences.

Michael McGarrell: [00:04:14] Because of that, the decisions that they make as it relates to nature, many times it causes more damage than good. So as an Indigenous person I know I have a responsibility to Mother Earth and I will continue to hold that responsibility. And I will continue to push to ensure that others become responsible in managing nature, in managing our own mother, our Mother Earth.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:04:40] What I hear Michael saying is that he and other Indigenous people have crucial knowledge. He's willing to share that knowledge and we, like all of us, need that knowledge in order to fulfill our responsibilities to our earth.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:04:55] Is that what this episode is about?

Jenny Asarnow: [00:04:58] Yeah, pretty much. This episode is about how Indigenous peoples have the key to our survival on earth. And that key is not some mysterious secret either, it's in the practices people use to tend to their lands all over the world. Now, we need to find out if the rest of us can catch up so that we can save enough of the earth before it's too late for us.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:05:23] Tell me more. I wanna hear this.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:05:25] Well, our story starts on a hilltop in Southwestern Guyana.

[Frog sounds]

Michael McGarrell: [00:05:36] I think those are frogs, little frogs. Maybe an inch, an inch big, uh, a little brown back with yellow bellies. Um, they usually hide in the grass. And as you approach, you know, they would stop making their sound [laughs]. Once the rain goes they will go hide in their places again, wherever they hide, until the next rainy season. But now it's, the rain is almost over. 

[Frog sounds]

My, my name is Michael McGarrell and I am a Patamona Indigenous person from Guyana. I'm in a village called Kato, located in one of the mountain ranges in Guyana. The people here are also Patamona. I am Patamona, the people here are also Patamona. And, uh, it's a beautiful community. Like, looking around I can see, you know, the mountains, the rolling mountains, you know, covered with grass. But I can also see patches of green forest, um, on the mountains which are further away. Um, people live here mostly like on the hilltop. So like, I, I am looking right now at some houses made out of adobe, which is like mud, clay. And they're thatched, they have thatched roofs, you know?

[00:07:00] The leaves that we get from the forest to make the roof of our house. So it's a very, very beautiful and tranquil place, if you wanna put it that way. I come from a village which is nestled, uh, between some mountains and the forest right next to the river, which is, uh, a total different landscape from Kato.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:07:26] In these days Michael lives in the capital of Guyana, Georgetown. He works with the Amerindian Peoples Association and with COICA, which stands for the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin. Basically he's an Indigenous activist who works with his own Patamona people and other peoples of Amazonia. He traverses this land a lot.

Michael McGarrell: [00:07:50] Yes, everybody knows me [laughs]. Um, in my, in my role as an Indigenous peoples' advocate I do all sorts of things. Um, my purpose here right now at the moment is to, uh, set up a Internet hotspot, that we'll be able to communicate more with the leaders in this, this part of Guyana. They're trying to have their lands recognized so they have been working together. I do whatever it takes to ensure that we're able to be more visible and more effective and advocating for our rights as Indigenous peoples.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:08:28] Land rights are a big issue in Guyana for Indigenous peoples. They're kind of a patchwork right now. This particular community, Kato, has legal title to their land. That means the government of Guyana recognizes their right to it. But a lot of other land isn't recognized.

Michael McGarrell: [00:08:45] For us, we own that land. You know, it's ours, but it's just that it has been taken away from us by governments, by the people who believe that, oh, we need to grant you a title and demarcate your lands. But this is our lands.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:09:02] Right now Indigenous peoples in this area are working to make sure they can get legal title over the lands outside their villages. Lands that they use for hunting and fishing, and gathering supplies and farming. Mining companies are trying to move into those lands that are rich in resources. That's important for our story today because it's in those kinds of open lands that many animals live.

Michael McGarrell: [00:09:27] If you go a little bit more into the forest, then you will find jaguars, uh, bears. You'll have, uh, monkeys, uh, snakes, of course [laughs].

Jenny Asarnow: [00:09:37] But lately things have been changing around here.

Michael McGarrell: [00:09:39] So we have two seasons in Guyana, dry and rain. Um, rain two times per year and the dry twice as well. Because of climate change the, the weather patterns have been changing up. Um, sometimes you don't know, you know, when it's gonna rain or not. It has impacted on the reproductivity of species because they cannot adapt effectively to the new season changes. When it's supposed to rain then, oh, it's bright sun. It means that the animals can't do what they're supposed to do, like the spawning seasons have changed. So it's, it's very, well, alarming in that, you know, now there isn't as many animals as it should be.

[Frog sounds]

[Bird sounds]

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:10:39] Okay. Uh, good morning. I'm Jing Corpuz. Um, I'm from the Kanakaney-Igorot, the Indigenous peoples here in the Philippines. Uh, I'm currently located at the ancestral territories of the Ibaloi Igorot. My ancestral lands are about 150 kilometers north of here.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:11:00] Jing is the global policy and advocacy lead for Nia Tero. She's involved in negotiations at the UN and places like that, and she brings with her concerns of Indigenous peoples from around the world.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:11:13] Well, I don't represent the Indigenous peoples per se, because, um, you know, I keep getting reminded that each Indigenous people has the right to self-determination and the right to represent themselves. So what I bring to the table are the views from Indigenous peoples.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:11:28] Jing lives in the Philippines so you may be thinking, hot. But where she is, it's in the mountains and it's actually relatively cool.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:11:35] Oh, gosh. We're, we're having unseasonably good weather. It's nice and sunny and cool [laughs], but not too cold.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:11:43] When we talked it was mid-afternoon in Seattle where I live, and my family and my cat kept coming in and out of the room.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:11:50] [laughs]. That's, uh, now, that is about to happen here.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:11:53] It was 5:00 AM at Jing's home and all was quiet for now.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:11:57] We're getting close to the time when we normally go out for a morning walk, so my dog's gonna come in. My kids are gonna come in. And when, when we go for our morning walk in a couple of minutes, you know, we're going to be listening to all of these different birds.

[Bird sounds]

Jenny Asarnow: [00:12:19] A lot of policy discussions that Jing is involved in these days are about environmental threats, facing not only Indigenous peoples but all humans and many other species on this planet we share.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:12:31] There are a million species that are in danger of extinction and we really need to protect where these plants and animals live. We have to be more for our planet and for our environment if we want to prevent more of this from happening.

Eric Dinerstein: [00:12:52] We're living through the sixth mass extinction event in the history of the planet. But the other five extinction events, humans were not on the planet then. This is the one that is happening on our watch. Okay. Uh, my name is Eric Dinerstein. I'm a wildlife biologist and a conservation biologist. I've been at this since 1975. I was chief scientist at the World Wildlife Fund for most of 25 years. 

Jenny Asarnow: [00:13:16] Now he works at an NGO called Resolve that works to protect the environment through innovation and new technology. He wrote a paper with a bunch of other scientists a couple of years ago called, The Global Deal for Nature. It said that mass extinctions are inextricably linked to climate change, and we're running out of time to stop both.

Eric Dinerstein: [00:13:41] Many scientists say that we have 10 years, or nine years now, until 2030, before we reach what are called tipping points where the changes that will be in place will be irreversible. And those who will come after us will have a much more difficult time trying to survive.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:14:01] Basically if the planet warms too much, the extinctions will continue and ecosystems will literally unravel. And if ecosystems unravel, the forests and the tundra and the grasses and the corals that keep carbon from going into the atmosphere, are gone and the planet warms even more. And if that wasn't bad enough ...

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:14:24] If we don't want another more severe round of COVID, we better care about our environment. Because, uh, you know, COVID was because people are encroaching on the, the habitats of wild animals and their viruses are jumping to humans. And if we don't want something like that to happen again, we have to be more careful, more mindful of the space that animals and plants need.

Eric Dinerstein: [00:14:50] And so we have these four big crises, climate breakdown, mass extinctions, ecosystem collapse and pandemics, and we need to find a way to address all of those if humanity is going to have a future. So that, that's the news to grip people. But then the good news is that there is a solution here.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:15:13] And that solution, well, this is Seedcast, so you know it has to do with Indigenous knowledge.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:15:19] Globally biodiversity is in decline and in Indigenous territories it's still declining, but a mu- at a much slower rate.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:15:30] In other words, whatever we all need to do, Indigenous peoples are already doing it.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:15:35] A lot of Indigenous peoples are still living in these places that have managed to maintain a lot of species, different plants and animals. So now the science is catching up, and now they're trying to look at, why? Why? Why is this happening? Why is it declining less in Indigenous territories? And what they've identified is the value system, the spirituality and the view, the world views of Indigenous peoples as being related to nature, as being caretakers, guardians, stewards of nature.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:16:09] I wanna pause here and really notice what Jing said. The reason that there's more biodiversity in Indigenous territories is because of a spiritual relationship, a sense that humans are kin to each plant and creature and element of the land we share.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:16:27] The more we interact with other Indigenous peoples from other parts of the world, the more we realize that the world view is the same. You know, this, um, this feeling that there is this obligation placed on Indigenous peoples by their ancestors to care for their land so that future generations are able to inherit good land.

]Michael McGarrell: [00:16:52] So it's, when we take care of nature, nature takes care of us as well.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:16:56] So it's this spiritual relationship and it's funny because now the science is catching up.

Eric Dinerstein: [00:17:02] Yeah. I- in a way it's, it's as if traditional knowledge has merged with scientific knowledge to say, here is the solution for how to save life on earth. It's to maintain these, these Indigenous lands. Indigenous peoples have the central role in determining probably the future of life on earth.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:17:32] How the scientists explain it, you know that vicious cycle we were talking about earlier? Global warming destroys ecosystems, which in turn creates more global warming. We got to stop that cycle and the fastest, cheapest way to do that, it's not some high-tech machine that will blast carbon into space. It's trees.

Eric Dinerstein: [00:17:53] You know, we can improve upon the genius of trees to draw carbon from, from the atmosphere, carbon dioxide and to sequester it. Uh, we, we can't come up with a device that's, that's as efficient as a tree. We should just use trees to do that. We should use coral reefs to do the same thing.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:18:10] And it's not just about individual trees either, it's about forests, especially rain forests like where Michael grew up.

Michael McGarrell: [00:18:17] The rain forest, like the Amazon rainforest for example, is the, is the lungs of the earth. It takes out the carbon dioxide but it produces something that people right across the globe need, which is oxygen.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:18:33] Remember earlier how Eric said we have until 2030 to stop a major catastrophe that could really change life on earth? Basically, and this is getting a little technical, we have until then to stop the average global temperature from rising past 1.5 degree Celsius. If we go pass 1.5 degrees, then the planet may become pretty unlivable for humans and a lot of other creatures. So to stop that from happening we need to preserve forests and coral reefs and also grasslands like Kato where Michael is, tundra in the arctic. Anywhere, there's still a lot of rich nature and we need to save a lot of it.

Eric Dinerstein: [00:19:13] More and more scientists are recognizing like, we have already that we have to conserve 50% of the terrestrial realm in order to have a chance to stay below

Jenny Asarnow: [00:19:23] That means preserving 50% of all the land on earth, as in half. Last year Eric's team actually mapped out every place on earth they think we should save. They called it the Global Safety Net, crucial areas to preserve. And those places ...

Eric Dinerstein: [00:19:40] From where rare species live to where large mammals roam over big landscapes, to the most intact habitats, to the places that sequester the most carbon.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:19:49] Over a third are Indigenous lands. In other words, if we want a slow climate change, stop mass extinctions and stop pandemics, we need to look to the ancestral lands where Indigenous peoples still live.

Eric Dinerstein: [00:20:02] You know, Einstein 's famous quote is that the goal of scientists is to make things as simple as possible, but not too simple [laughs]. And so hopefully that was clear enough.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:20:13] So Jenny, what's an example of how Indigenous people use traditional knowledge to care for their lands?

Jenny Asarnow: [00:20:21] Yeah. You know, it doesn't have to be complicated. Michael has this example.

Michael McGarrell: [00:20:25] Because of how we, how we grew up, um, with nature, we only take what we need. You know, we don't take more than we need. So for example, if I go into the, the jungle to get some vines to make some sort of craft that we use, we take some and leave the others. We will never take all from a single tree. Because if we do that, then it means that we cannot go a next time to get more. So we have this practice where we only take some and leave others, so that it will continue to grow and you will have more to use in the future, that you can always go back there. But not by taking down an entire tree, or not by taking all the vines. So this, these are like simple practices that can help in managing our resources.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:21:19] It can also look like farming sustainably, like how they do in Kato.

Michael McGarrell: [00:21:24] We do rotational farming where we change the spots over periods and then wait for the regrowth, um, of that old spot. And we would go back there eventually, so we basically go around in circles. All of our produce is organic. There is no fertilizer, there is no chemicals going into the production, um, in our farms. The, the way of life is that we plant cassava, manioc, as some people may know it. We make everything basically with cassava. Cassava bread, farine, tapioca. Cassareep, which is like a syrup that they can use in their cooking. Kasiri, barakhari and also paiwari. All of these are made from the cassava root. Everybody has their own farm so that they would have a continuous supply of food. They live here on the hilltop, so their farms are located down in the valley. So they would have to go down in the valley, maybe an hour walk, two hours. Uh, they pull their cassava and then they would bring it up here on the mountain. So walking up the hill with the 80, 90 pounds, 100 pounds of cassava on your back is no easy task.

[00:22:34] And many times you'll see that the women, they may have their baby in a sling on their side. And, you know, they're bringing the cassava and auto-produced bananas plantings, potatoes. Uh, whatever they, you know, have from the farm, they would bring up. I mean, they use the land to, to help them, to feed them, to cloth them and to shelter them. So it's using nature's sustainably so that nature can take care of you.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:23:04] It sounds simple, right? Let people who live in their ancestral ways continue to live in those ways. But of course it's not that simple, particularly when we get into the realm of policy and politics. A lot of powerful people are actually getting on board with this idea of preserving a whole lot of the earth in order to save humanity, and a bunch of them have a proposal.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:23:30] 30 By 30 is a proposal to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030. There's a group called the Campaign for Nature that's pushing this proposal and there are about 60 countries called the High Ambition Coalition who are supporting the proposal.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:23:47] It's kind of like the Paris climate agreements, but for biodiversity. This work is happening at the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is part of the UN. Jing's job is to explain all of this to Indigenous peoples. So here is how she does it.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:24:01] So at the international level, um, we have the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is essentially the convention that's supposed to oversee all life on earth.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:24:12] It started in 1992.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:24:14] Initially there were no targets for protection. It was just, let's conserve biodiversity. And then later there were some targets that were put in place. So the first set of targets said 10% of land by 2010 and 10% of sea by 2012. Those weren't met.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:24:31] They made another set of goals for 2020 and didn't meet those

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:24:35] 16% of land and 8% of sea are currently protected but scientists are saying, we need to be doing more. So now we're undergoing this process called the post-2020 process. It's a process to negotiate the new targets. That's what's happening. And we're trying to be more ambitious to resolve the planetary crisis that we are currently in.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:24:59] Representatives from countries all over the world are planning to meet at the Convention on Biological Diversity this October to adopt their new goals. And 30 By 30 has a lot of momentum. But just to complicate things more, Eric thinks 30 By 30 is not nearly enough. And he and his colleagues wrote the science that a lot of this is based on.

Eric Dinerstein: [00:25:20] It seems ambitious to some people. Unfortunately, because we procrastinated for so long, uh, we have to go much faster and further.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:25:30] Okay. So to sum up, policymakers are setting goals they view as ambitious. Some scientists say that's not enough. And Indigenous peoples, well, they're looking at these maps that the scientists and policymakers are making and noticing that so much of the land that these folks wanna protect, is theirs.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:25:55] It's very tricky, you know, for Indigenous peoples because, um, you know, it's not a, a good history. Because a lot of these Indigenous territories that were included as, um, as protected areas were, um, without the consent of Indigenous peoples.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:26:12] That kind of thing has happened for many years.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:26:15] There's this very western notion of wilderness where human occupation, people are not compatible with protection of the area. So it's sort of a view, it, it's a view of Indigenous peoples as inherently destructive, Indigenous peoples destroying nature.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:26:31] For example, all across the American West, Indigenous tribes were removed from lands so that those lands could be turned into national parks. And that's also true in other parts of the world.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:26:42] And so a lot of displacement, a lot of, uh, evictions took place. The Indigenous governance structures are also displaced. Murders, even. So there are a lot of experiences like that all over the world by Indigenous peoples.

Michael McGarrell: [00:26:59] We have seen, like in the Amazon ... and not just the Amazon but across the world, where Indigenous peoples are being criminalized. Indigenous people are being assassinated. Indigenous peoples, you know, are really being pressured, um, when they try to stand up to defend their rights, when they try to stand up to defend their lands. They are being criminalized by, by governments. They're being criminalized by big corporations, because of course, the big corporations and governments have a lot to benefit from ensuring that the Indigenous peoples are not involved.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:27:33] So when Indigenous people start hearing about initiatives and campaigns like 30 By 30, it raises some concerns. Yeah? So is this going to be with or without the involvement or, uh, partnership with Indigenous peoples? Or is it going to be the same way as before? So on the one hand when, when I explain it to Indigenous peoples they say, "Yes, of course. We really should be protecting." And some would even say, "We should be protecting 100% of the earth." But, um, on the other hand you have those apprehensions from among Indigenous people. "If we're aiming higher this time, does it mean that more of us are going to be evicted from our territories? Does, does it mean more of us are going to lose control over our territories?" So it's, it's, it's a kind of mixed. They, they get that the world needs to be protected, but for those who have past experience with, with protected areas, they're concerned about how we go about it.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:28:35] Indigenous peoples are being included now in conversations about 30 By 30. But there's some nuance in the details. Most people involved in this work now recognize that traditional Indigenous knowledge is valuable. And some countries like Canada and Australia have even created protected areas where Indigenous peoples are responsible for stewardship of the land once again. But when it comes to simply recognizing Indigenous rights to their lands, that could get us to the same goals of saving human life on earth, but it doesn't have much political support right now.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:29:11] It's going to be a struggle, definitely, to get this notion of just recognizing Indigenous tenure over their lands and territories that's part of that system of conservation. And there should be many different pathways for Indigenous peoples to be involved. They should be able to choose if they want their lands and waters to be declared as a national park or as a conservation area. Or if they simply want to keep taking care of their place as the way they always have.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:29:40] It's a new opportunity for the world and remains to be seen if we'll take it.

Michael McGarrell: [00:29:44] We need to ensure that Indigenous peoples' lands across the world is titled, demarcated and recognized in law. It belongs to us. These lands have provided for ancestors and now it's providing for us.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:30:05] It's providing for all of us. This is Michael's work and Jing's work, along with so many others around the world and it's deeply personal.

Jennifer Corpuz: [00:30:17] Here in the Philippines we all have nicknames. So my name's Jennifer and my nickname is Jing. But I was born, um, a peer activist friend of my parents was, um, was killed, and so they named me in honor of Jennifer, who's nickname was also Jing. I guess because of that name I'm trying to live up to her activist spirit. In my work we're very careful to be listening, you know? To be asking Indigenous peoples, what do they want? How they want to be involved in this effort, yeah? What they want is to be full partners, right? And the guiding star should be self-determination of Indigenous peoples. And if they want to be left alone, I mean, the government should respect that. But, you know, it's not such a loss if you leave Indigenous peoples to their own devices, yeah? [laughs].

]Jessica Ramirez: [00:31:22] Wow, thanks for bringing us this story, Jenny.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:31:26] It was truly my pleasure, Jess. I feel so lucky that I get to work with you and that I get to talk to amazing people all over the world like Jing and Michael and Eric.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:31:37] Right? It's kind of incredible.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:31:39] It really is. This is such a huge topic, um, that we talked about today and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. Like, how can someone like me get involved and be an accomplice on this issue? I don't identity as Indigenous. I'm a white Ashkenazi Jewish person. I live and own property on Coast Salish land in Seattle. Where I live is stolen land and the effects of that theft are so deep. Even though I care a lot and I've tried to learn about racial justice and the work that it takes to undo racism, I'm still learning so much right now about Indigenous rights.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:32:22] We all are, Jenny. I'm learning a lot here too.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:32:26] Thanks for saying that. Um, I wanna support efforts for sovereignty here. I wanna support efforts for sovereignty around the world, to support people who've been displaced and people who are still on their ancestral lands. You know, like those folks whose practices are the key to our future on earth. If anyone listening relates to any of this, thanks for being a fellow traveler on this road.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:32:52] Yeah, what kind of resources can you point us to, so we can learn more?

Jenny Asarnow: [00:32:56] Yeah. Well, if you wanna support the work Michael's doing in the Amazon, you can go on over to the Seedcast show notes for this episode. We'll post links to the groups that he works with there.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:33:08] Jenny, thank you so much for bringing this topic to the Seedcast podcast.

Jenny Asarnow: [00:33:13] Thanks for having me.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:33:20] Thanks to Michael McGarrell and Jing Corpuz and Eric Dinerstein for sharing your time and stories with us this episode. And thank you for listening. If you like what you hear, give us a review on your favorite podcast platform, this helps us find new listeners. Or maybe consider sharing this with a friend. To learn more about this podcast and our work at Nia Tero, please visit our website and follow Nia Tero on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This episode was produced by Jenny Asarnow and edited by Kavita Pillay. Our executive producer is Tracy Rector, our producer is Felipe Contreras. Our marketing manager is Julie Keck, our fact checker is Romin Lee Johnson. Our social media manager is Hannah Pantaleo and I'm your host, Jessica Ramirez. We look forward to sharing more stories with you soon.