We at Nature For Justice aim to be the organization that local communities and partners look to for support as they invest in projects to ensure that social justice prevails through restoring and improving their lands. We also seek to increase the capacities of local, national, and international partnerships on a global scale.
One of the ways we believe we can do this is to invest in what’s working. So what is working?
It is well known that indigenous people the world over are some of the best stewards of nature. They often have the healthiest lands yet they also remain the least funded and supported. The close relationship that these communities have with nature has enabled them to understand the diverse, intricate and delicate ecosystems on which everything else depends. Protecting and preserving them as healthy ecosystems can positively influence the climate and biodiversity crises.
There are some great stories from the west coast of Vancouver and the coast of British Columbia where indigenous nations are starting to assume more responsibility over marine and terrestrial environments. They are starting to work with local and provincial governments in coordinating those responsibilities, such as marine rescue and environmental management related to oil spills, as they are often the first one on the scene when there is an incident.
These communities and their guardians/rangers are able to cover large tracts of land that the public government has just not been able to do in the past.
The Salmon Story
Salmon is key to the biodiversity of a number of important ecosystems, including the Pacific Northwest and Atlantic regions. They start life in coastal rivers and streams, spend most of their lives in the ocean, and return to the same place where they began in order to spawn.
From orca whales to grizzly bears, nearly 140 unique living species benefit from the marine-rich nutrients that wild salmon provide. Following spawning, the salmon perish leaving behind marine-based nutrients for the benefit of local flora and fauna. As a simple example, these nutrients are useful to riparian trees, which in turn provide cover, space, and protection for the spawning salmon.
The symbiotic dance of interdependence with its reciprocal relationships feed and support each other continuously, in both visible and indiscernible ways. The land feeds the fish and the fish feed the trees, eagles and bears upstream, and orcas in the ocean — and we humans, too, benefit.
In addition, salmon, beyond being simply food, is a source of wealth and trade, and is deeply embedded in the culture, identity, and existence of many First Nation people of Canada. To many, salmon are seen as being similar to people but spiritually superior.
This deep understanding of and personal relationship with nature, in its myriad forms, provides the knowledge for indigenous peoples to preserve and manage for the future their lands in Canada.
Creating Carbon Markets that Support Nature
The intricate nature of diverse ecosystems are rarely reflected in most carbon markets. The ecosystem service values that are placed in these financial calculations are mostly very linear, disconnected, and often neglect human-nature interactions.
There is an urgent need to understand the environments in which we live, like what I’ve described above, to create carbon markets for local communities that address rewilding, protect existing ecosystems, and create social and economic justice for the communities involved.
Let’s also design what’s being created to support life on Earth — in a way that supports regeneration along with emerging markets — on what’s proven to be working. We don’t have time to waste, we need to find what’s working and as a global community learn about what is being done successfully and implement, replicate, and scale it. Then get the markets to support that.