Faces from the Forest

Guardians of the Forest, indigenous leaders from Latin America, Indonesia and Africa, came to London on their way to the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn where they were to argue that the continuing maintenance of the forests by their indigenous inhabitants is vital in the fight against climate change, and that the clearance and devastation has to be stopped.

Their rally in Parliament Square commemorated the many who have lost their lives defending the forests against exploitation by mining companies, clearances for timber and agriculture such as the production of palm oil, much of it carried out by companies registered and listed in London. A few of those who have been killed for our profits were shown in photographs held up by some of the protesters, but most of the deaths over the years have gone unrecorded and, except by their families and tribes, unmourned.

Profit and “progress” has eliminated many who have stood in its way, usually with little thought and less conscience, seeking short-term gain for rich investors but ignoring the death and distress their activities cause.

But in the longer term it is not just the forests and the indigenous people who are suffering, as these forests are a vital part of our global life support system.  We need them and we need them to  be maintained sustainably. And while the exploiters are thoughtlessly destroying them, the people who live in them have hundreds or thousands of years of experience in living with them and keeping them alive – and are truly the ‘Guardians of the Forests’.

It was a privilege to meet these people and to photograph them. Here are a few pictures of their strong faces which so impressed me.

You can read more about the event at Guardians of the Forest – COP23.


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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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