The world’s indigenous communities have long been the leading caretakers and guardians of rainforests. Respecting all forms of life and cultivating a close relationship with the land are not just embedded in traditional knowledge and practices, they are basic tenets of entire indigenous cosmological worldviews and lifeways. From conserving sacred sites and cultural traditions, to fighting for their communities’ rights to live on and care for their ancestral lands, to advocating for eco-spiritual worldviews on a national policy level, all the people on this stage have been involved in the spiritual and cultural dimension of the fight to shift world values and protect forests. In the panel, the following topics were discussed and presented:

How the wisdom of indigenous traditions and religious traditions can build resilience of socio-ecological systems

  • indigenous traditions of protecting forests
  • social justice activism and the spiritual/ethical arguments for addressing forest change
  • reversing the role of major world religions in the history of colonization / leveraging spiritual resources and influence to protect forests and sacred sites
  • how religious communities, indigenous peoples and faith leaders can work with scientists, policy makers, and local people to achieve these goals and shift societal values
  • how can an interfaith initiative best serve forest communities