Center for World Indigenous Studies
A Think Tank of Activist Scholars
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Preface

Biodiversity Wars. Coexistence or Biocultural Collapse in the 21st Century

Indigenous groups are unquestionably “peoples” in every political, social, cultural and ethnological meaning of this term. It is neither logical nor scientific to treat them as the same “peoples” as their neighbours, who obviously have different languages, histories and cultures. The United Nations should not pretend, for the sake of a convenient legal fiction, that those differences do not exist. (Erica-Irene Daez, Chair of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples. 1993)

According to a May 2019 report of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) (established in 2012 as a United Nations organ responsible for responding to requests from states’ governments) the world’s “Nature and its vital contributions to people, which together embody biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are deteriorating worldwide” (IPBES 2019). Indeed, owing to unsustainable development practices by states’ governments and their subordinate organizations (business, religions, non-governmental organizations and state government systems) the collective human activity focused on development now threatens the collapse of life supporting plant and animal foods and medicine systems worldwide. The targets of the development frenzy over the last few generations have been plants, animals, raw materials, and the lives and territories of Fourth World nations. Short-term commercial and financial gains have driven non-indigenous societies to take and consume Earth’s living support systems faster than the Earth’s ability to replenish. Fourth World nations have for several generations been warning local, regional and international institutions of the impending breakdown of life support systems and now the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services somewhat belatedly calls attention to the near-term collapse of biodiverse systems world wide threatening the collapse of human societies.

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