There is a force referred to as development that has arrived in Northern Kenya. It brings highways, wind farms, pipelines, cables, standardized education, and new towns where the government wants people to live and work. What it also brings is pollution, inequality, disappearing cultures and languages, an end to nomadic lifestyles that have existed for hundreds of years. While all this is happening, extreme weather has also arrived, taking people who have long known how to live in balance with the environment and thrusting them into the uncertainty and destruction climate change leaves in its wake.
This month I had the great honor of being present at the Video 4 Change gathering in South Africa. This meeting brought together indigenous activists from different parts of the continent, as well as allies and friends from the rest of the world. The topic: the struggle for indigenous rights in a globalized world where in the name of profit and development, people who have long lived in harmony with their environment are being forced to discard their identity and physically pulled from their ancestral land. How is this happening in an era of sustainable development goals and human rights? What can be done to help communities defend themselves and be heard on a national and international scale?