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OTAVALO, ECUADOR

Women religious, indigenous peoples in solidarity on nature's rights

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At the Global Rights of Nature summit, Vandana Shiva, an internationally renowned physicist and environmental activist, led the ritual Thursday on our last morning in Otavalo, sharing some of India’s poems and hymns to Mother Earth. One began, “Whatever, I dig of you, O Earth, may that grow quickly upon you.”

Indigenous peoples work to save land from extinction

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The sun was beginning to cut the chill of the Andean morning when the group gathered around a fountain in an outdoor courtyard. This is how the summit of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature  began, with Tai Ta Carlos, an elder from this territory, leading a ceremony of thanksgiving to Pachamama, Mother Earth, for the life that sustains us.

Speaking of the damage we are doing to Earth, he said, “We must recognize that we are part of the natural world.”

Road to 'rights of nature' summit passes Earth's midpoint

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We traveled three hours by bus northeast from Quito, Ecuador, climbing winding roads up the highlands of the Andes Mountains, past craggy canyons, hillside farms and village settlements. Our destination was Otavalo, at the foot of the Imbabura volcano, where we joined nearly 50 leaders of the emergent “rights of nature” movement for a four-day global summit.

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July 18-31, 2014

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