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Piratas de Carbono

Sarah Fretwell | Peru

The scorched remains of the primary rainforest in the buffer zone of Cordillera Azul National Park were discovered by the Santa Rosillo Forest Guardians in December 2022. In the global push for carbon credits, the national park is being shared as a model example by REDD+ and made the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) Greenlist. However, native communities here have been cut out of the equation and have earned nothing from the 87-million-dollar carbon agreement. Although their ancestors managed the land for generations, they have no part in the management or carbon deal and now cannot get the title to their land. Native communities took the government to court just to learn who the carbon offsets are being sold to. The natives believe multinational corporations are greenwashing their environmental records by buying carbon offsets instead of making sustainable changes to their business practices. Mavic Pro, Santa Rosillo, San Martin, Peru. 12/09/22.

Amazon tribes in Peru have experienced massive plunder of their land for carbon.

The creation of Cordillera Azul National Park and the carbon offset scheme have made it impossible for some to gain the title to their ancestral forests.

Multinational polluters buy carbon credits from their forrest, but no one here has been paid.

Native communities see themselves as a part of the landscape. Western conservation models do not.

Native activist Marisol Garcia said, “It is very important to save the planet, but you can’t ignore the people who have lived there.”

Locals are demanding to be part of protecting their sacred forests, “They are like our brothers - the trees, the animals, the water. The only difference is they have no voice.”

“Piratas de Carbono” seeks to amplify the indigenous perspective to ensure the future of tribes and the planet.

Amazon tribes in Peru have experienced massive plunder of their land in the name of carbon.

 

Worse, the creation of Cordillera Azul National Park and the resulting carbon offset schemes turned Amazon Tribes into trespassers on their ancestral land.

 

Despite that, the creation of Cordillera Azul National Park (2001), and the resulting carbon project (2008) are being shared globally as a model example of conservation by REDD+ and made the Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) Green List.

 

Most native communities report they had no idea a national park or carbon deals were being created until park rangers came to their chakras and told them they were no longer allowed to be there. Many families were violently removed from the land they had cultivated and lived on for generations.

 

Since then, no natives have been able to gain the individual or community title to their land. Without land titles, they cannot benefit from the carbon deals or verify the effectiveness of offsets.

 

One activist told me, “It is very important to save the planet, but you can’t ignore the people who have lived there.”

 

She noted, “They are like our brothers - the trees, the animals, the water. The only difference is they have no voice.”

 

Native communities are now demanding to be part of protecting their sacred forests and deciding what kind of deals can take place there.

 

Some multinational corporations now declare themselves “carbon neutral,” simply because they have purchased carbon offsets - some from Cordillera Azul National Park. Some are not changing their business practices to mitigate their carbon footprint. The Amazon Tribes understand the fallacy of this “buy your way out” approach. Core business practices must change, as well.

 

Native activists want the carbon market to work properly. They disagree with the corporate greenwashing. These activists have been battling the exploitation of Peru's carbon markets since 2008.

 

They invited me to take a first hand look at what is happening here.

 

They have a deep desire to protect the sacred. This project is told from the perspective of the native leaders, as they navigate the global plunder of the international carbon market by developers and multinational corporations.

 

“Piratas de Carbono” seeks to amplify the indigenous perspective to ensure the future of tribes and the planet. We cannot offset our way out of climate change. It is the Western way of doing business that has to shift.

 

Email / sarah@sarahfretwell.com

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