While the head of states are meeting in Paris to talk about climate, wildfires are raging through the Brazilian Amazon, destroying vast areas of forest on the eastern fringes of the “earth’s lungs”. The outbreak of the fire coincides with the start of the international COP21 climate summit in Paris and threatens one of the last uncontacted peoples on earth.

 According to Survival, the fires are reportedly being started by illegal loggers, in retaliation for tribal people’s efforts to defend their territories and keep the invaders out. They threaten one of the few remaining areas of pre-Amazon forest in Brazil, the last environment of its type in the world.

This forest is home to the Awá tribe, one of the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. The Awá depend completely on the land for their survival.

The Awá and other tribal peoples around the world are at the forefront of the fight against climate change and the destruction of the natural environments in which they live. They are the best guardians of their forests, and the cheapest and quickest way to conserve the Amazon is to respect their land rights.

Tatuxa’a, an Awá spokesman, said: “Today I went to the forest and I was surrounded by smoke and dust… There is fire everywhere and it is very close to our communities… We need the government to help us… We alone cannot put out the fires, as there are many!”

“The forest is rich with fruit and game… and it is all being destroyed! Our stream is drying up too. Where will we hunt? Where will we collect honey? I am very sad and worried today.”

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