Monthly Newsletter

October 2017 | Indigenous Rights
Dear Friends,

Over the last several years, LDF has been ramping up our support of indigenous communities on the front lines of the struggle to defend their lands, water, and people from mounting global efforts to extract valuable resources like oil, timber, and minerals and commodities like palm oil. Resource extraction and agroindustry at this scale devastates natural ecosystems and often undermines the rights and health of indigenous communities. We have seen the evidence of this first hand when visiting with our friends from the Ceibo Alliance in the western Amazon rainforest, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations in the Boreal forest of Canada, and the Orang Rimba and Talang Mamak tribes on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Despite immense pressure from powerful corporations and governments, many indigenous communities are putting their lives on the line to prevent this destruction and stand for a different way to exist – one where both nature and people can thrive.

We believe these efforts deserve support and true partnership. LDF is currently supporting indigenous-led efforts across Asia, North America, and Latin America. Our partners are mapping and documenting their territories, defending their legal rights, implementing renewable energy solutions, developing sustainable livelihoods, and telling their stories to a global audience. As this movement grows, more indigenous communities around the world are connecting with each other to share resources and tools, building strength, community, and solidarity.

Join us in supporting and holding up their work and leadership. There is no doubt that these changemakers are the key to protecting this beautiful planet.

Justin Winters
Executive Director, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
LDF Grantee Spotlights

LDF's Indigenous Rights Program

LDF's Indigenous Rights Program supports grantees who map and monitor native territories, defend land rights, develop sustainable livelihoods, and promote public advocacy efforts. Read more about all of their amazing projects here > 

Mapping in Ecuador. Photo courtesy of Digital Democracy.

Digital Democracy: Supporting Earth protectors with mapping and monitoring tools

LDF grantee Digital Democracy empowers marginalized communities to use technology to defend their rights. Their new project Mapeo is a cutting-edge participatory mapping platform that helps indigenous communities protect their ancestral territories from illegal mining, environmental degradation, and other activities that threaten their way of life.  Read more >



Brazilian Indigenous leader, Sônia Guajajara. Photo courtesy of Ford Foundation.

To address the climate crisis, we must address inequality

Previous research has shown that securing indigenous rights works better than any other method of forest conservation - even creating vast protected areas. These communities provide a critical and cost-effective buttress against the most detrimental effects of climate change. To think that we might address climate change without addressing the inequalities that cause it, or lifting up the communities best suited to intervene, is a grave mistake.   Read more >

Creative Commons: Kate Evans

The tropics are now releasing more carbon than they absorb 

A new report shows that due to deforestation and land degradation, the tropical realm is now releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than it absorbs. This is devastating news as prior assumptions were that tropical forests would largely remain intact, continuing to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced through the burning of fossil fuels.  Read More >

Creative Commons: Anahi Martinez

Fifteen communities advancing nature-based local solutions for sustainable development

The Equator Prize celebrates extraordinary sustainability initiatives and innovations brought about by indigenous peoples and local communities from around the world. This year, fifteen winners were awarded prizes for their significant work in biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, gender empowerment, land rights, and food and water security.  Read More >

Support LDF in our mission to protect the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants by making a donation today. 

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