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Indigenous leaders call attention to disastrous forest fires

Fires have destroyed millions of acres of rainforest in the Amazon and in portions of Indonesia in recent months. This week, an international coalition of indigenous leaders met in New York during the United Nations climate summit to call attention to the destruction of their land, confront climate change and ask for increased protections for the environment. Megan Thompson reports.

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  • Megan Thompson:

    Climate action is one of the main topics as the United Nations General Assembly gets underway here in New York City.

    Yesterday, leaders of indigenous people from countries around the world gathered to ask for support in their efforts to protect the environment and confront the effects of climate change on their lands.

  • Megan Thompson:

    At a breakfast yesterday — leaders from Brazil, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Indonesia – all part of the "global alliance of territorial communities" – asked for help with a wide range of issues –including destruction of the Amazon Rainforest.

  • Sonia Guajajara:

    We are expecting from the United Nations climate change conference to have a space to denounce it and to get some help from all the leaders that will be here. This is not only a crime against the environment but against all of humanity.

  • Megan Thompson:

    indigenous peoples in the Amazon — who call themselves "guardians of the forest" — patrol their land and say they are facing increasing violence from illegal loggers.

    Also of concern, forest fires in Indonesia — often started for clearing land for palm oil plantations — that have destroyed more than 800,00 acres.

  • Rukka Sombolinggi:

    We're talking about climate crisis, climate emergency now. The burning in the Amazon and the burning in Indonesia, now it is clear that all is done with the target of clearing of the land for private companies.

  • Megan Thompson:

    a representative of the indigenous people's group will be on hand for the United Nations Climate Action Summit–with business, government and environmental leaders on Monday.

    The U.N. says climate change is "the defining issue of our time."

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