TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT
Aboriginal people have a special relationship with the land, all living things and even inanimate objects. Their traditional teachings and belief systems give them the understanding that they are responsible to preserve and protect the environment, eco-systems, and all creatures that inhabit them for the next seven generations.
Unfortunately, the impacts of 400 years of European settlement and technology have not only degraded the Aboriginal way of life, but also the eco-systems and natural resources that are essential to sustain human life. We have now reached a point where the survival of our planet, and all life on it, is at risk.
In September 2018, the United Nations released a statement saying that we are now at a critical point; that if we do not implement measures to minimize harm to the environment and begin to restore our eco-systems by 2020, that we are on path to certain destruction and there is nothing that we will be able to do to reverse the damage.
“If we do not change directions by 2020, we risk…disastrous consequences for humans and the natural systems that support us.” stressed Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations in his landmark speech on Climate Change to the UNDP on September 10, 2018. “Climate change is faster than we are, we must break out paralysis. We have the tools to make our actions efficient, but we’re short on leadership and ambition to do what must be done —even after the Paris Agreement, which UN research has indicated only represents one third of what we need to do to make an impact.” Consequently, he continues, “we must stop deforestation, restore degraded forests and change our farming methods. We must also revisit how we heat, cool and light our buildings to reduce energy waste.”
For this reason, and in keeping with traditional beliefs about guardianship of the planet for future generations, several Aboriginal communities have come together to leverage their resources to assist other Aboriginal communities in creating and protecting eco-systems in an attempt to prevent further damage to the environment. Together, they have founded the Green Fund for Aboriginal Americans (GFAA), an organization that will fund ecologically and economically beneficial initiatives in Aboriginal communities who have no other source of funding for the benefit of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.