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The Culture Hack Curriculum

Example POV 3: Indigenous Futures

Example 3: POV statement from Indigenous Futures Report

The Context

The climate emergency is not a distant, future event. This year alone, around the globe, we have already experienced a pandemic, droughts, fires, water crisis, floods, hurricanes, famines and loss of biodiversity at alarming rates. Every year, the number of human and more-than-human life that is displaced as a result of these climate catastrophes increases. This is not a drill, this is an emergency. Never has the future felt so present. It is not an abstract notion anymore. 

In August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC), issued an imminent warning: if we do not change the current rates of carbon emission by 2030, the damage would be irreversible and in 2050, human life on the planet could be existentially threatened. It is also important to remember that we will not equally bear the brunt of the climate crisis. Studies show that the majority of the highest carbon emissions per capita come from the richest countries. As of 2015, the Global North was responsible for 92% of the excess emissions, while most countries in the Global South were within their boundary fair shares. But the consequences of climate change are more severe in the regions that have not contributed substantially to the crisis. The Central American region, for instance, will be one of the most vulnerable and impacted regions by the climate crisis. According to the World Health Organization, every year, 150 000 people die of diseases, starvation or other health reasons tied to climate change. This number is expected to double by 2030. Again, these deaths mostly occur in developing countries. In the 2015 Paris Agreement, UN Member States set goals to reduce carbon emissions. In general, the international community’s objective has been to regulate the current unsustainable growth model and progressively transition to a green growth model. However it remains clear that such a model will not provide us with the answers we collectively need. Studies have shown that it is not possible to maintain an infinite economic growth model on a finite planet. In addition to being hard to implement (because most of the proposed solutions rely on the goodwill of nation states), curbing carbon emissions and promoting a green economy do not challenge the growth model, and will therefore not be sufficient to prevent the imminent extinction of life on earth. We need bolder, radical solutions.

Our Point of View

At Culture Hack Labs, we believe that all power rests on the ability to harness and control language; and humans make sense of their world through stories. Narratives explain how power has come to rest in the hands of the few, rather than the many. They reveal how our struggles – from land to labour, biodiversity and even our very bodies – are part of the same global system, one that prioritizes the production of capital – in other words, economic growth – over everything else, and at the expense of everything else. [Reference: The Rules Foundation 2012 – 2019]

Given the escalating climate emergency coupled with the foreboding warnings of the IPCC report, we must acknowledge that existing narratives about our relationship with the Other and our Selves have led us astray. Indigenous cultures are ancient, deeply diverse and life centric, making them relevant alternatives to the fragile, calcified and destructive narratives of late stage Capitalism and Progress. In addition to this, Indigenous peoples are defenders of 80% of the world’s biodiversity and have shown that their territories are interwoven with their cultures. By protecting their indigenous lives, cultures and territories we will defend our collective future.