Māori and other indigenous climate activists have been laying down some challenges about Pākehā and Euro-centric climate action movements like Extinction Rebellion, pointing to the long history indigenous peoples have of strategy and action when faced with catastrophic change. Key in indigenous perspectives is how climate action and indigenous rights are intrinsically connected.
One climate action group in Aotearoa is Te Ara Whatu.
In 2017, a group of young Māori and Pasifika came together to represent our communities at the 23rd Session of the UN Climate Talks. As the first indigenous youth delegation from Aotearoa, we were committed to bringing the wealth and learnings from this experience back to Aotearoa.
Māori and Pasifika communities are at the frontlines of climate change. Our tuakana across Te Moana Nui a Kiwa have been experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis for decades. As rangatahi we have to face these challenges head on and hold those responsible to account. We do this to ensure that our culture, grounded in our whenua, our whakapapa and our whānau is protected in global solutions to climate change.
We step up in solidarity with indigenous communities from around the world. We see our mahi as part of a bigger kaupapa of resistance and re-indigenisation.
The impacts of climate change will affect some areas of the world, including our indigenous communities sooner and harder than others.
Climate justice recognises the oppressive power structures that have contributed to the causes of climate change and their intersectional relationship with other challenges that our communities face: gender violence, food sovereignty, cultural integrity and land threats.
Solutions that express climate justice centre the needs of frontline communities and their continued resistance.
In Te Reo Māori, ‘ara’ translates to rise or wake up, or is the name given to a path or route, or the breaking of waters in the commencement of childbirth.
Whatu translates to the eye or pupil, or references a stone of initiation or rāhui, or to weave together.
Simply, Te Ara Whatu means The Woven Path, but its layers of meaning capture the broader kaupapa that the fight for climate justice connects to.
Te Ara Whatu are sending a delegation to the 25th UN Climate Talks in December and are fund raising to get there.
In 2017 the first ever delegation to be organised, led and made up of indigenous youth attended the UN Climate Talks. Last year we returned to the mahi once more, helping to bring to life the first climate solutions platform co-governed by indigneous peoples and governments. This year we are continuing with this important kaupapa, travelling to Madrid, Spain for the 25th UN Climate Talks. The biggest barrier to ensuring indigenous youth are present in this talanoa/kōrero is money. Can you chip in to help us get there?
Our mahi is founded in enabling rangatahi Māori and Pasifika to generate the skills and relationships needed to take on the intersectional challenges that we have inherited, and will be facing in the future. Our vision is for rangatahi to lead the way in creating resilient, adaptable and self-determined indigenous communities – generating our own solutions based in our cultural knowledge and ways of living.
Donations can be made at their Pledge Me page. They’re nearly at their goal and have five days to raise the remaining $3,000.