Native Root Coffee supports Indigenous Colombian farmers

April 5, 2022 by  
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Coffee is a ubiquitous part of modern society. It’s the language of love, community, culture and history. While it’s omnipresent, we often fail to consider its origins or the journey required to deliver the hot cup of morning Joe. The idea is simple — produce a quality product while paying fair wages. Yet somewhere along the line, coffee commerce, like most industries , became more about profits than people. Native Root Coffee set out to change that. Related: Coffee prices spike, thanks to climate change   Native Root Coffee Company founder Ervin Liz has always had his finger on the pulse of the market. Raised surrounded by the industry as a third-generation coffee maker, Liz not only has a deep understanding of how the coffee is grown and prepared but also appreciates the impact and benefit of the industry’s demands on growers.  With an emphasis on paying growers fair wages, Native Root Coffee works directly with Indigenous Colombian farmers. This helps remove the middlemen between the  plants  and the production.  According to Native Root, “It’s estimated that the average U.S. coffee drinker consumes 2-3 cups per day and that last year alone, Americans consumed an estimated 3.3 billion pounds of coffee alone.” While this mass consumption requires mass production, Native Root doesn’t focus on quantity. Instead, the company underscores the importance of building relationships with small-scale farmers. The relationship is two-sided, with farmers providing batch beans and Native Root providing payment 10-15% higher than average. In addition, the process allows for a high level of traceability, so every bag of coffee can be traced back to the actual farm and farmers who nurtured and harvested it.  It’s a connection to the cup and a link between the consumer and grower. Native Root also grows its own beans, but it continues to rely on supply from nearby farms to directly contribute to an improved quality of life for those farmers and the community. As a third-generation Nasa Indigenous coffee farmer, Liz has a passion for the industry and wants to see Colombian coffee continue to develop a rich history while providing a living wage for working families. This connection between farmers and consumers fulfills the company’s mission to make drinking coffee a more meaningful experience — not only through a better understanding of the source but also in the production of quality, small-batch, craft coffee selections.  The Native Root website features an interactive quiz that helps identify a roast that will match your preferences. Simply select your preferred boldness, taste profile and interest in trying something new, and they’ll recommend an option for you. The company also offers a 20% discount on your first order, a free sample bag with a promo code, various subscription options and gift cards.  Review of Native Root Coffee The company offered to send me a sample bag, so I let them make a selection for me based on my tastes. The Ember River blend arrived quickly and packaged without plastic in recyclable and biodegradable materials. The sample was a generous 12 oz. bag, so I’ve had several opportunities to try it using both drip and French press processes. I’ll admit, I’m pretty much a coffee snob. I mention it because, like all food and drinks , opinions are subjective. So for reference, my preference is for a dark and complex roast with low acidity. My family drinks a lot of coffee, always prepared via ceramic drip or French press. We are even members of a monthly subscription that delivers small-batch, sustainably-sourced coffees from small roasters. So I feel qualified to offer a comparison of the Native Root brand and am happy to announce I have already ordered more so I can try different flavors. Everything about it is uplifting, from the packaging that proudly shares the company’s story and mission to the PR code right on the front of the package with a link to find out more about the farmers who grew the beans in the bag.  Perusing the website, I found that Native Root currently offers five coffee options. Ember River is one of the two darkest selections, labeled as medium-dark. The flavor is smooth and almost creamy in texture. I immediately picked up cherry on the nose and in the first sip. It’s a balanced flavor and not overbearing. I found it interesting to sample the coffee alongside different foods . With cheese rice crackers, the cherry flavor was muted and the hazelnut shined. Similarly, I thought pears would mask the coffee profile, but it proved to be a delightful match, perhaps highlighting the raw sugar cane flavors.  + Native Root Coffee Images via Native Root Coffee and Dawn Hammon Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Native Root Coffee. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Native Root Coffee supports Indigenous Colombian farmers

Inclusive companies and communities advance environmental justice

February 21, 2022 by  
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Building lasting solutions is a multifaceted and complex undertaking that requires addressing the roots of racial injustice while empowering Black, Indigenous and people of color professionals.

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Inclusive companies and communities advance environmental justice

Inclusive companies and communities advance environmental justice

February 21, 2022 by  
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Building lasting solutions is a multifaceted and complex undertaking that requires addressing the roots of racial injustice while empowering Black, Indigenous and people of color professionals.

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Inclusive companies and communities advance environmental justice

Indigenous leaders hold Ecuador accountable for oil spill

February 2, 2022 by  
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Indigenous groups in Ecuador have confronted the government and oil investors to demand justice. On Tuesday, Indigenous leaders and the regional pan-Amazon Indigenous organization protested outside Ecuador’s Annual Conference for Oil and Energy (ENAEP). In response to the Amazon oil spill on Jan. 28, the group called on officials to help those affected and end new drilling projects. “The impact of this spill has left the Amazon in a critical situation. We want territories free of resource extraction. It has caused so much damage to our territories, it is killing people. We call for climate justice,” Nemo Andy Guiquita, a Waorani Indigenous leader and Coordinator of Women and Health for CONFENIAE, said . Related: These blue flags celebrate the Indigenous First Nations people ENAEP is the Ecuadorian government’s effort to attract oil investments. The government plans to double oil production by expanding extraction and exploring new territories. Indigenous groups strongly oppose this endeavor. The government has advanced its explorations into Indigenous territories and the Amazon rainforest, areas protected by law. Biodiversity hotspots such as the Yasuní National Park have not been spared either. The Jan. 28 oil spill loomed over Tuesday’s conference. After the OCP pipeline burst and spilled crude oil into Coca Cayambe National Park, rivers turned black from pollution . The oil reached the Coca River, affecting the primary water source for thousands of Kichwa Indigenous people downstream. “We are here, again. Behind these walls are people who think there is no life,” Gregorio Mirabal, Executive Coordinator of the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), told reporters. “It hasn’t even been 100 days since COP26 , where all the presidents promised to defend the rights of nature and human rights. And yet, here they are, already negotiating our rights. Right now our rights are under negotiation and the rights of our children are at stake!” Sources report that no speakers at ENAEP acknowledged the recent oil spill. In response to continued oil projects, Leonidas Iza, Executive Coordinator of Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), said, “As long as collective rights and consent are not respected, there is a liability. We tell international investors that do not respect our communities that we have in fact won and secured several legal cases against the oil industry.” Iza added, “About the oil spill – the government did not guarantee our rights. We call on the president to respect his own words and the agreements signed with environmental groups before he became president.” Via Amazon Watch Lead image via Ceibo Alliance

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Indigenous leaders hold Ecuador accountable for oil spill

California redwoods to be reclaimed by Indigenous groups

January 26, 2022 by  
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Ten Indigenous tribes on  California’s  Lost Coast are about to get their ancestral homeland back.  Save the Redwoods League  announced Tuesday that it will transfer over 500 acres back to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council. “It’s a real blessing,” said Priscilla Hunter of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, as reported by The Guardian. “It’s like a healing for our ancestors. I know our ancestors are happy. This was given to us to protect.” Hunter is chair of the  InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council , which will now hold title to the land. The 10 tribes will be responsible for stewarding an area of land called Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ, which means “ Fish  Run Place” in the Sinkyone language. Related: At COP26, Indigenous activists are fighting to be heard The 500 acres include both old-growth and second-growth  trees . The area hasn’t been logged for about 30 years. “This is a property where you can almost tangibly feel that it is healing, that it is recovering,” said Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, as reported by The Guardian. “You walk through the forest and, even as you see the kind of ghostly stumps of ancient trees that were harvested, you could also in the foggy landscape see the monsters that were left behind as well as the young redwoods that are sprouting from those stumps.” Save the Redwoods bought the land for $3.5 million two years ago. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. funded the purchase as part of its mitigation efforts for environmental damage the utility has caused. Marbled murrelet and northern spotted owls are just two of the  species  that benefit from this conservation effort. The Lost Coast transfer is part of the bigger Land Back movement, which is returning  Indigenous  homelands to their descendants. “For so many decades tribal voices have been marginalized in the mainstream conservation movement,” said Hawk Rosales, former executive director of the Sinkyone council. “It’s only until very recently that they have been invited to participate meaningfully and to take a leadership role.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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California redwoods to be reclaimed by Indigenous groups

Here are 5 Indigenous eco-charities to support

November 29, 2021 by  
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“There is no planet B.” Perhaps no one understands that better than Indigenous people. Understanding how to coexist with nature has been an essential life skill for many generations, and today’s Indigenous people are still honoring the  environment  through various movements. These movements support sustainable, low-impact lifestyles that meet the needs of humans and the planet. If you want to support Indigenous organizations working toward this goal through everything from education to legal help, check out this list of Indigenous-led eco-charities worldwide. Seed Climate justice is the goal, and Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are keeping a focus on that goal through a series of campaigns supported by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC). AYCC understands Indigenous communities are highly affected by climate change and is committed to empowering the younger generation to address the issue.  Related: 12 sustainable, Indigenous-owned brands to support To participate, you can sign the petition to urge Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ban any governmental support of new coal and gas projects. Organizers say, “We are the caretakers, protection of the country is at the very core of our culture and connection to the land and sea. It is the teaching of the Dreaming.” You can also sign a petition to ban fracking in the region. A recent article from  The Guardian  summarizes the mission saying, “Where they can, communities are already acting to make these changes reality. For example, in the Northern Territory, where Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network, Seed, is working with communities to protect the country and water from dangerous gas fracking, communities are working to become energy self-sufficient and supply clean and cheap power with  solar power  and batteries.” Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) The goals of the IEN are many, but they center around continuing to impart ancestral knowledge about land management to modern generations both within and outside the Indigenous community. IEN is a grassroots effort started in the United States in 1990. In addition to educating and empowering the Indigenous community, the group aims to protect the environment, human health, and  animals  by promoting sustainable lifestyles and influencing policies that affect Indigenous Peoples at local to international levels. The group includes elders and youth in campaigns to protect the rights of all while transferring traditional cultural and spiritual beliefs to the next generation of land stewards.  Through IEN, the ‘Keep it in the Ground’ campaign provides information and news about Keystone XL, Line 3 and No DAPL. The ‘Just Transition’ campaign seeks to refocus how we view the planet’s natural resources — a shift that moves away from seeing it as a product and instead promotes a lifestyle of balance with nature. ‘Save our Roots’ highlights various land and  water  issues, such as a campaign to stop genetically engineered trees and protect against deforestation worldwide.  Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) Many Indigenous groups still live in and rely on forested areas for protection, shelter,  food , heat and natural materials for home goods, trade and industry. But while these communities continue the practices of previous generations, they’re fighting a battle with a world trying to use those same resources without consideration for Indigenous people or the land. FPP’s goal is to ensure these communities have a voice when it comes to political strong-arming that strips them of their lands and their rights to them.  The ‘Free Prior and Informed Consent’ (FPIC) campaign provides the people the right to approve or deny outside use of their traditional lands. ‘Self Determination’ supports forest people’s rights to develop and practice their own political, economic, social and cultural practices. They also work to ensure gender equality and land rights, among other concepts.  Women’s Earth Alliance, Sacred Earth Advocacy Network Led by Indigenous women throughout North America, Women’s Earth Alliance, Sacred Earth Advocacy Network is on a mission to identify and enforce federal environmental laws and customary international law. It presses for governmental law reform and offers support for women-led Indigenous environmental justice groups. With a well-established nationwide network of legal professionals, the group advocates action through grassroots solutions for the climate , economy, water, energy, food, cultural preservation, health, safety, education and more.    The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) The Earth has no voice. Or rather, it does, but it’s often drowned out by humans. CCAEJ works to advocate for the planet from a community perspective. It brings communities together in search of solutions for social and environmental problems. The focus is to empower people to develop systems that meet community needs with respect for the planet. As CCAEJ explains on its website, “We believe in a zero-emission future and in regenerative and sustainable communities.” Working with local communities and acknowledging that they are closest to the problems and potential solutions, the group addresses crises related to  pollution , cleaner transportation, zero-emission technology and more. Lead image via Pixabay

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Here are 5 Indigenous eco-charities to support

Climate change is destroying Indigenous rock art

November 17, 2021 by  
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Indigenous  rock  art has survived tens of thousands of years. But global warming might be the death of it. As extreme weather events like fires, cyclones, floods and erosion intensify, rock art fades and disappears. A report at a recent symposium declared the damage is now irreversible. The symposium was held Tuesday at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia , spurred by a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to the report, the global temperature is likely to rise above the 1.5 degrees Celsius target of the Paris Agreement. Expect more extreme, rock art-damaging weather. Related: 12 sustainable, Indigenous-owned brands to support Rock  art  sites are found around the world and consist of paintings, engravings, drawings, stencils, prints and carvings. They’re found inside caves and on boulders, on cliff walls and rocky overhangs. The imagery has lasting aesthetic and spiritual power and can provide insight into the lives of Indigenous groups around the world. Australia and Africa each have at least 100,000 rock art sites, some stretching back 28,000 years. India, China, Siberia, Mexico and France are just a few more of the places where rock art endures. Dr. Jillian Huntley, an archaeological scientist at Griffith University, studies Australasian rock art. Her focus stretches from Australia up into  Indonesia , with an emphasis on Sulawesi. Huntley has noticed that changing weather is making salt crystals expand and contract, causing rocks to collapse. Some of the world’s oldest paintings are threatened.  “Those temperature increases are felt at a rate three times the rest of the world,” Huntley said, as reported by The Guardian. “A 2.4C warming would be a 6C warming in the tropics, which would be absolutely catastrophic.” And there’s no time to wait. “Not net zero by 2050,” she said. “Net zero as soon as possible.” Natural disasters, weather and climate fluctuations are nothing new. But this time, human technology is rocketing the planet — including its  Indigenous  rock art — toward disaster. “Today, we’re in sort of a critical situation or critical juncture,” said Daryl Wesley, an archeologist at Flinders who has studied destruction wrought on rock art by one of Australia’s worst tropical cyclones. Via The Guardian , Getty Museum Lead image via Pixabay

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Climate change is destroying Indigenous rock art

Will Biden keep his oil promises after COP26?

November 16, 2021 by  
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Now that the world leaders have left the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, citizens around the world are wondering if they will keep their promises to cut carbon  emissions . As for U.S. President Biden, the verdict is mixed. He is trying to protect some of the world’s most sacred and important Indigenous sites at New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon with a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing. On the other hand, critics say he could do more to halt a whopper of an oil sale in the Gulf of Mexico. Chaco Canyon was a cultural hub for  Pueblo  peoples from about 850 to 1250 A.D. The landscape still holds outstanding remains of buildings used for homes, business, astronomy and ceremonies. The Biden administration proposed a 20-year moratorium on any new oil and gas leasing within 10 miles of the  Chaco Culture National Historical Park , which is a National Park Service unit. Related: Bureau of Land Management moves forward with the sale of sacred land “Chaco Canyon is a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors lived, worked, and thrived in that high  desert  community,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, as reported by Huff Post. Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, is the first Native American Cabinet secretary. “Now is the time to consider more enduring protections for the living landscape that is Chaco, so that we can pass on this rich cultural legacy to future generations.” Chaco is not safe yet. The Interior Department will pause new leasing for two years while it assesses  environmental  factors and considers public comments. Meanwhile, drillers are rubbing their hands together in eager anticipation of a ridiculously big area of the Gulf of Mexico the Department of the Interior is opening for lease sales. The 80 million acres could produce over a billion barrels of  oil  and 4.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The  Biden  administration has protested this enormous invasion of the seabed. But in June, a federal judge in Louisiana managed to strike down Biden’s executive order to halt new gas and oil leases in federal waters and lands. Critics suggest that Biden could fight harder if he were willing to take more political and legal risks. Via HuffPost Lead image via Pexels

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Will Biden keep his oil promises after COP26?

At COP26, Indigenous activists are fighting to be heard

November 10, 2021 by  
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At COP26 in Glasgow, activists and experts are seeking to be heard and have their issues addressed. However, many causes are going ignored. Ruth Miller, Climate Justice Director for Native Movement , an Alaska-based grassroots group that represents Miller’s Indigenous community, has teamed up with eight other youths representing Indigenous groups to push their agenda at the conference. Although Indigenous communities have not been given sufficient room at such global meetings, the activist group says their concerns represent millions worldwide. Miller and her fellow activists had to share apartments and stayed almost an hour’s drive away from Glasgow due to the high cost of apartments in the city. Even with these obstacles, they fought to represent their issues. While they got a chance to talk with some top officials, the group couldn’t speak directly to the delegates. Related: Giant puppet represents refugee children at COP26 “Being an Indigenous youth at COP is extraordinarily limiting and tokenizing in a number of ways, both by nature of being Indigenous and by being youth,” Miller said. Miller shared her experiences with the other activists and discussed how climate change affects the entire world, though in different ways. For instance, Miller, who is from the Arctic , found that her experiences connect to those of Tiana Jakicevich, one of the activists hailing from the Southern Hemisphere. “While Ruth’s ice is melting , our seas are rising. So we are intrinsically connected to the earth and each other through that,” Jakicevich said. Jakicevich recalled her childhood days and tried to compare it to the situation now. “It’s like a little shellfish and you used to just dig in the sand for them. And every year we kept going back and they moved every year, and then about five years ago we couldn’t find them.” According to Miller, even though youthful activists are often dismissed, they have a lot to offer. “A number of us are extremely well versed in the substantive content of particularly Article 6 of the Paris Agreement , of a number of negotiating platforms,” Miller said. “We work in these fields as well as being youth. And yet, most of what I’ve talked about is how difficult it is for youth to be heard. We don’t even get to talk about what we would talk about if we were heard.” Miller and her fellow activists want the contents of Article 6 revised, saying that it mostly talks about carbon trading, a situation that emboldens polluters. They are also demanding a new deal at COP26 that recognizes Indigenous communities. Via NPR Lead image via Pixabay

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At COP26, Indigenous activists are fighting to be heard

Researchers and Indigenous groups collaborate to save caribou

October 19, 2021 by  
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Scientists are working with Indigenous communities to change the fate of Arctic caribou herds threatened by climate change. Habitat loss has caused a 56% decline in North America’s wild caribou population over the past 20 years, a situation that scientists and Indigenous conservation groups are determined to change. Recently, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $718,000 to Logan Berner, an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University’s School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS), for a three-year study dubbed “Fate of the Caribou.” The study offers insights into how human actions and a changing environment affect the caribou. Related: Indigenous communities are crucial in protecting the Amazon According to Berner, the study will continue to collaborate with local Indigenous groups to determine the best ways to protect the vital animals . “Our interdisciplinary research team will collaborate with members of local Indigenous and rural communities to conduct large-scale ecological analyses across multiple caribou herds in North America using novel ecological modeling, decades of satellite observations, and extensive field data,” said Berner. Berner will also collaborate with other parties to carry out interdisciplinary research to find ways of advancing the protection of wild caribou. The team includes Regents’ professor Scott Goetz, Earth scientists , ecologists, remote sensing experts and more. According to the researchers, they will be working towards generating actionable results for the management of caribou herds. “Our research will help advance understanding and management of caribou as we partner with the Indigenous-led caribou and natural resource management boards that are central to Arctic governance. We will work with them to produce actionable science that can inform the policies and co-management of caribou herds stretching from Hudson’s Bay to western Alaska,” the team wrote in a research description. Wild caribou are an important land-based species in the Arctic for both humans and the ecosystem. Those who live in the region rely on these animals for food . These animals also help balance the ecosystem. However, for the past few years, the animals have faced threats causing their population to decline. In addition to researching ways to sustain caribou populations, the researchers will also train young scientists to continue with the conservation job. Via Newswise Lead image via Pixabay

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Researchers and Indigenous groups collaborate to save caribou

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