“I walk a small path, surrounded by an infinite number of trees, plants and the scent of flowers. My lungs fill with pure, fresh air when I take a deep breath. My bare feet touch the ground, damp from yesterday’s rain. This is my home. This is where I grew up. This is what I want to share with my children one day.
“As I think of the future, of my people, I can hear the cry of the river, the mountains and the forest, and this fills me with sadness and anger. The future of this place is being threatened. The very essence of life is being threatened by oil extraction. And I pray to the forest to give me enough courage to protect my home.”
Nina Gualinga is a young woman leader from Sarayaku who recently spoke about her community’s struggle in an online viral video, Keep the Oil in the Ground. She represented the Sarayaku youth at the final hearing before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica, as well as at international events, and a press conference on the historic court victory with Amnesty International in London. Nina splits her time between Sweden and Sarayaku. She is studying human rights at university in Sweden.