COP21: Tom Goldtooth – Indigenous Environmental Network

Dec 1, 2015 Paris

Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network  appeared at a press conference inside COP21 with Gloria Ushigua, Alberto Saldamondo, and Berenice Sanchez. In the following video he is shown  answering further questions  by reporters in the hall afterwards.

Tom Goldtooth’s comments from the press briefing:

“One of the concerns that indigenous people in our network are worried about is the further implementation of what is called REDD, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. It is one of the carbon market regimes that is within the Paris Accord Document.”

“And we have a concern that this is an instrument that will further cause the land grabs and human rights violation of our indigenous peoples. But most concerning to us is the issue around the violation of our traditional cosmo-vision, so were going to talk about how REDD and other carbon market regimes violate that traditional beliefs that we as indigenous peoples have, the sacredness. ”

“How can you sell the air? How can you sell our trees in a climate capitalism system? That’s what were going to talk about.”


“Whenever you hear indigenous people speak, no matter where we come from, you hear us talk from our heart. You hear us talk about our relationship to the sacredness of the female principle of Mother Earth. We talk about the sacredness of all of nature, of life, that is our foundation.”

“So that’s why we are very critical in our analysis of any solutions that are coming from the hallways of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change. Like I said in this film and for this panel, this part of the information has not been provided here, as far as how it violates the sacredness of who we are, and what we have to compromise to participate in these foreign regimes of market systems. How do we reconcile those traditional beliefs, and how it tears at the fabric our communities, ripping us apart, causing us to fight against each other over money.”

Comments outside in the hall

“These forested areas are now used for carbon credits that allow polluters in the North to continue to pollute.”

“There is no way to make the REDD project better, it cannot be fixed. It is not a solution. It involves a climate market regime that has been part of a big capitalist market system that has never protected front line communities, indigenous peoples, fisher peoples, andnd that’s why we have to look for other alternatives to product the trees but not in these market systems that just allowed more dumping of pollution in the North.” ~ Tom Goldtooth

Report by James George