Indigenous Peoples

Kawsak Sacha

Kawsak Sacha (The Living Forest) is a proposal for living together with the natural world that grows out of the millennial knowledge of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku who inhabit the Amazonian rainforest. At the same time recent scientific studies recognize and emphathise the sustainable use of the forest in indigenous territories.

Whereas the western world treats nature as a simple source of raw materials destined for human use, the concept of Kawsak Sacha interprets the Living Forest not only as a home for all of its inhabitants, it also serves as an emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual basis for the life of the indigenous people. Only through the survival of the Living Forests the natural balance of all beings, and therefor their own survival, can be kept.

„This encourages us to propose that maintaining this lively space, based on a continuous relation with its beings, can provide a global ethical orientation as we search for better ways to face the worldwide ecological crisis in which we live today. Like that we can realise a „good life“ for all of us.“

The Living Forest proposes a Life Plan that is sustained by three foundational pillars: Fertile Land, Living in Community and Forest Wisdom. As a space for the development of a „good life“, the Living Forest proposes another way to think about wealth. By protecting the forests, it ensures a healthy environment as well as abundant productive land that can help preserve food sovereignty. In this way Kawsak Sacha aims to serve as a viable economic model.

The „Frontier of Life“

Looked at it geografically, the Living Forests, thanks to a lot of joint effort of the Sarayaku people, are now marked by a border of flowering and fruiting trees visible from the air, communicating to outsiders the existence of the area of Kawsak Sacha. The message it delivers is aimed at the entire world with the goal of reaching the hearts and minds and encouraging everyone to reflect on the close relation between Human Rights and the Rights of Nature. It’s a request to the world community to make an effort to achieve a real transformation. To a system that recognizes that forming community with the many kinds of beings with whom we share our world is a better way to orient our economic and political activities.

[this is a short version of the document Kawsak Sacha –The Living Forest: An Indigenous Proposal for Confronting Climate Change. Presented by the Amazonian Kichwa People of Sarayaku, COP 21, Paris, November 30 –December 11, 2015]

"We don’t speak about the conservation of the forest in our territory anymore, we speak about the conservation of our planet, about the survival of our planet Earth."

by Particia Gualinga




  • © Sarayaku

    © Sarayaku

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