Helena Gualinga: “Indigenous people have much more to teach the West than the other way around”

Ecuadorian activist Helena Gualinga explains why she joined the causes of her community, becoming an active voice around the world against climate change and for Human Rights. Helena will be at the Estoril Conferences on September 1st. At the age of 20, she’s been defending the Kichwa Sarayaku community of Pastaza, Ecuador for almost half of her life. Sumak Helena Sirén Gualinga presents herself as an indigenous environmental and human rights activist.
“Meeting people and engaging everyone in the fight for the Amazon are expectations that bring me closer to the Estoril Conferences,” she said in an interview with Dinheiro Vivo – Estoril Conferences media partner -, ensuring she was “very excited to share the stage of Nova SBE with Xiye Bastida,” Mexican activist co-founder of Re-BastidaEarth Initiative. Daughter of an Ecuadorian mother and Finnish father, Helena shared her childhood between South America and Europe, but assumes that her life and accumulated experiences, especially when she began to wake up to the problems experienced by the indigenous community, “made it impossible to set themselves apart”.
Responsible, together with 150 other environmental activists, for the creation of the Polluters Out movement in 2020 (which intends to impose on the United Nations to refuse oil funding to COP26), Helena Gualinga became a spokesperson for the indigenous community and has increasingly taken up the denunciation of the effects of oil exploration on indigenous communities, taking its message from the UN to local schools.
For Helena, one thing is clear: “There is a lot of potential in indigenous knowledge, which can be used in the fight against climate change; we must protect our values and diversity. There is much more the West has to learn from indigenous peoples than the other way around “, underlines the Ecuadorian activist, who is part of the panel of “inspiring voices for the environment”, and that will be on the stage of Nova SBE on the first day of the Estoril Conferences, next to Xiyde Bastida, talking about The Voice of the Earth: Now or Never.

Read the full article in Portuguese here.