Natural Wisdom | earthrise | Al Jazeera English

I was lucky enough to spend a month with the Shipibo tribe in the Peruvian Amazon in 2015. This trip opened my eyes to the crucial role indigenous peoples play in protecting nature. It also made me acutely aware of how living in tune with the natural world is an instinct that many of us have lost as our societies have urbanised and industrialised.

Indigenous communities make up around 5 percent of the world’s population and yet safeguard 80 percent of the planet’s biodiversity. The natural wealth they defend makes them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. We meet two communities protecting unique ecosystems on their territory. In Brazil, the Xavantes are exploring new ways of defending their ancestral way of life. And in Australia, the Bardi Jawi are working with scientists to create a fresh approach to marine conservation. We also interview three powerful female activists: Daiara Tukano, Xiye Bastida and Nemonte Nenquimo.

With cultures at risk and biodiversity collapsing, indigenous peoples’ legal rights must be protected. And, for the non-indigenous amongst us, there is so much to learn from their worldview which recognises how a reciprocal relationship with nature is fundamental to humanity’s survival on Earth.