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Image: Iñupiaq Activist Siqiniq Maupin speaks in Washington, DC. Frypie via Wikimedia Commons
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor
A new study co-authored by researchers from Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Oil Change International has found that Indigenous climate activists in the US and Canada have “stopped or delayed greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution equivalent to at least one-quarter ofannual US and Canadian emissions.” Indigenous resistance to 21 fossil fuel projects in the two countries has faced both political and violent attacks, and serve as a solemn reminder that climate action comes at a price for those on the front lines.
The study analyzed data from nine different environmental and oil regulation groups and found that the 21 projects prevented by Indigenous climate activists could have added 1.587 billion metric tons of annual GHGs to the atmosphere. That is the equivalent of 400 coal-fired power plants or 345 million passenger vehicles. The analysis also found that every year Indigenous activists launched legal action or physically disrupted construction resulted in a reduction of GHGs by 780 million metric tons. Ongoing efforts could prevent another 800 million metric tons annually.
“When you take a step back and look at the work that Indigenous peoples have put in over the years and decades, it really goes to show that we collectively are making a tremendous impact for the benefit of this planet,” Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with IEN, told Grist.
One of the reasons these strategies have been so effective, says Goldtooth, is because the action is coming from an intersectional perspective. They account for climate change and systems of colonialism and white supremacy that uphold and interact with the power of the fossil fuel industry. “From an Indigenous perspective, when we are confronting the climate crisis, we are inherently confronting the systems of colonization and white supremacy as well,” he said. “In order to do that, you have to reevaluate how you relate to the world around you and define what your obligations are to the world around you.”
Protecting water and land rights has been at the core of Indigenous climate action. Goldtooth says that these protections can serve as a foundation that expands to the entire population. “It backs up what we’ve constantly been saying,” he added, “recognizing Indigenous Rights protects the water, protects the land, and protects our futures.”
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have hit a three-million-year high, according to a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report published yesterday. Despite a brief dip in emissions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall trend of increasing emissions continues, indicating last year’s dip had little to no impact on […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A report in the Dasgupta Review shows that by using a fiscal lens to view Earth’s growing biodiversity loss, we can see how it links to economic development. By viewing nature as an asset like “produced capital (roads, buildings and factories)” or “human capital (health, knowledge and skills)” — […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer While coal use is a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions, another industry is set to outpace it: plastic. A new report from Bennington College and Beyond Plastics estimates the plastic industry emits over 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, the equivalent of 116 coal-fired power plants. […]
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