Helena gualinga and Sophia Kianni

October 30, 2023


'We need to listen to Indigenous voices' - Sophia Kianni

I recently had the opportunity to attend If Not US Then Who's inspiring 'Our Village' event during NY Climate Week co-hosted with Tenure Facility and to learn more about their work. I was honored to start the day with a cacao ceremony, reminding us of our roots and our connection to Mother Earth. We delved into crucial discussions around how we steward the earth. Listening to the passionate voices of leaders like Nelson Raya from Masai Conservancy & Nemonte Nenquimo from Ceibo Alliance made one thing clear: we NEED to listen to our Indigenous communities. Our forests are under threat and that has a devastating effect on our climate. But there's hope: securing Indigenous land rights can lead to 2-3 times less deforestation. Imagine the amount of carbon emissions we can reduce, and the rich biodiversity we can preserve!

In partnership with the Tenure Facility, If Not Us Then Who? hosted a morning of interactive conversations and networking sessions designed to connect philanthropy with indigenous leaders from around the world.
Attendees participated in a cacao ceremony

I was deeply intrigued by the pop-up presentations, especially the climate ideas presented by spokespeople from the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities and Podaali Fund among others. It's imperative that we amplify the voices of Indigenous, black, and local leadership. Their rich history, unparalleled connection with nature, and deep-rooted wisdom offer practical and sustainable solutions to the looming climate crises we face.

A panel with Indigenous leaders at the 'Our Village' event hosted by Tenure Facility together with If Not Us Then Who?
The event featured pop-up presentations from various Indigenous organizations including the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities and Podaali Fund.

Organizations like the Tenure Facility are empowering Indigenous Peoples and local communities, helping them secure land rights so they can protect our forests. The clock is ticking, and climate change waits for no one. Audacious’ collaborative funding approach is unlocking funding at a massive scale for climate ensuring we have the momentum and resources to push the needle forward rapidly. With their support, Tenure Facility will support Indigenous Peoples to secure and defend 50 million hectares of forests. Over five years, Tenure Facility will support Indigenous Peoples and local communities to secure 50 million hectares of forests in Amazonia, the Congo Basin, and tropical Asia — the largest expansion of land rights led by a single organization in modern history. They will empower 15 million peoples who inhabit these lands and prevent 140 million metric tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere over a decade, moving us closer to averting climate disaster and paving the way to a more equitable and thriving natural world.

Let’s amplify the voices of our Indigenous leaders. They've been the stewards of our land for centuries. With the support of organizations like Tenure Facility, it's time their solutions, their pain, their stories, and their leadership come to the forefront.

Sophia Kianni is an Iranian-American social entrepreneur and activist. She is the founder and executive director of Climate Cardinals, the world’s largest youth-led climate nonprofit, with 10,000 volunteers in 80+ countries. She is the youngest United Nations advisor in US history.

*This piece was first published on Sophia's LinkedIn. For more insights from the world's leading changemakers subscribe to our updates feed Big Ideas, Audacious Solutions

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