Helena Gualinga is from the Ecuadorian Amazon. At 17 years old, she regularly speaks out the terrifying and often ignored toll climate change — and Government repression — takes on indigenous communities.
“As we are facing one of the biggest crisis in human history, climate change. Indigenous people, protectors of the amazon and preventers of further climate destruction are criminalized, persecuted and murdered for defending LIFE and BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. STAND WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLE!,” she writes in one post.
On Instagram, she regularly shares images of local climate activists, such as Mirian Cisneros, President of Sarayaku, who directed a fiery speech towards the President of Ecuador for having “the fallen and the murdered” in his conscience. “We are the State, but we are not consulted,” Cisneros was noted as saying. “When they say that indigenous peoples and peasants are the poor, we till, cultivate, feed the city, and yet they treat us as poor. Our brothers have died, that means that our own president orders armed men to attack when we come in struggling but in peace.”
Gualinga is a representation of the interconnection between climate activism and social justice. In another Instagram post, she noted that the Ecuadorian Government had announced an agreement on economic reforms with the IMG, leading to huge protests across the whole of Ecuador. She writes that Ecuador’s economy has long been dependent on exporting oil and natural resources, which has contributed to an “unsustainable economic model,” with high levels of poverty, inequality, corruption and human rights abuses.Tags: Activism, Amazon Rainforest, Climate crisis, Ecuador