This summer, fires began to rage in the Amazon—known as the “planet’s lungs” and responsible for producing 20% of the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere—as a direct result of Brazilian president Jair Bolsorano’s weakening of environmental protections, which set the scene for mass deforestation. This thrust into the spotlight the work of Nemonte Nenquimo, Emergildo Criollo, Sandro Piaguaje, and Taita Pablo Maniguaje—a group of indigenous leaders from the Waorani, Kofan, and Siona nations in the Ecuadorian and Colombian Amazon—who have come together with Amazon Frontlines to give voice to their shared work of protecting their regions’ natural resources. Although the four activists have been vocal about the Amazon fires, their work cannot be distilled to a single event or cause. Nenquimo, Criollo, Piaguaje, and Maniguaje have all been involved in the fight against global warming for significant portions of their lives, and they face very real threats in order to do their work. Piaguaje is currently under both national and international protection measures due to threats on his life for defending Siona land from oil interests, and right now, Nenquimo and Criollo—like many Ecuadorians—are at risk as violent unrest triggered by fuel price hikes taking place in Quito, Ecuador. […]

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