Globally, Indigenous Peoples make up less than 5% of the total human population – about 370 million people – yet they manage or call home more than a quarter of the world’s land area. Those regions also support 80% of the planet’s global biodiversity.
Indigenous perspectives are often missing from global conversations about biodiversity, climate change and other critical environmental issues. Although their traditional land-use practices often focus on sustainability and conservation, their land rights, sovereignty and safety are often under threat by governments and corporations seeking to exploit the environment. And while their environmental footprint is small, they often bear the fallout of environmental degradation, with little access to services, financial resources or platforms that help boost their visibility and allow for information sharing.
Indigenous Peoples also face barriers in becoming journalists as a result of these challenges, although they are often the most equipped to tell the stories of Indigenous communities living and working on the front lines of climate and environmental change.
With funding from the Nia Tero Foundation, EJN is providing grants to Indigenous journalists to investigate and produce stories about environmental degradation and explore strategies for adaptation and resilience in Indigenous communities.
In 2022, this project received additional funding from Svenska Postkodstiftelsen (the Swedish Postcode Foundation), to highlight the role of Indigenous peoples as defenders of most of the world’s remaining biodiversity.
One of the main goals of this project is to build the capacity of Indigenous journalists and communicators to report on environmental issues – such as climate justice, biodiversity, sustainable ecosystem management and the rights and well-being of Indigenous Peoples.
It will do so by providing Indigenous journalists with resources – including mentorship, editorial support and funding – to share important stories and information with those who need it most. Journalists will have the opportunity to learn from Indigenous and other expert speakers at our webinars. Story grants will focus on supporting Indigenous journalists in their reporting. A training workshop will enable Indigenous reporters to develop their skills and share their experiences, and an open-access online training course will provide Indigenous and non-Indigenous journalists with a deeper understanding of the threats facing Indigenous peoples globally, as well as the benefits their biodiversity stewardship provides to the planet. The project also aims to help Indigenous journalists build networks and amplify the voices of Indigenous leaders and other community members.
In the longer term, we hope this support will allow these journalists to continue reporting on the environment through stories that increase public awareness of the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on Indigenous communities and the world at large, foster discussions and promote greater accountability and support for sustainable development.