3. Indigenous groups from Amazon propose creation of largest protected area on Earth
When news of unprecedented wildfires in the Amazon grabbed headlines in late August, most Americans were ill-prepared to understand the story, in part because of systemic exclusion of indigenous voices and viewpoints, highlighted in Project Censored's number three story — the proposed creation of an Amazonian protected zone the size of Mexico, presented to the UN Conference on Biodiversity in November 2018.
The proposal, which Jonathan Watts, writing for The Guardian, described as "a 200m-hectare sanctuary for people, wildlife and climate stability that would stretch across borders from the Andes to the Atlantic," was advanced by an alliance of some 500 indigenous groups from nine countries, known as COICA — the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin, who called it "a sacred corridor of life and culture."
"We have come from the forest and we worry about what is happening," declared Tuntiak Katan, vice president of COICA, quoted in The Guardian. "This space is the world's last great sanctuary for biodiversity. It is there because we are there. Other places have been destroyed."
"The organisation does not recognise national boundaries, which were put in place by colonial settlers and their descendants without the consent of indigenous people who have lived in the Amazon for millennia," The Guardian went on to note. "Katan said the group was willing to talk to anyone who was ready to protect not just biodiversity but the territorial rights of forest communities."
In contrast, The Guardian explained, "Colombia previously outlined a similar triple-A (Andes, Amazon and Atlantic) protection project that it planned to put forward with the support of Ecuador at next month's climate talks. But the election of new rightwing leaders in Colombia and Brazil has thrown into doubt what would have been a major contribution by South American nations to reduce emissions."