Women's Activism NYC

Nina Gualinga

By: Natalie Ruiz Sarita | Date Added:

Amazonian Woman By: Natalie Ruiz Sarita It is a privilege and honor to introduce, learn about, and understand the life of Nina Gualinga. Ms. Gualinga has become an inspiration for young Ecuadorian women like myself today. Not only has she been able to create change, but she continues to advocate for what she believes in despite adversity. Nina has become very well respected, and is known for participating in national and international fora. Today, Nina is recognized as a leader in her indigenous community who effortlessly fights and advocates for climate change, and for the rights of her indigenous people. Promoting a fossil fuel free economy, and protecting the Ecuadorian Amazon’s are her biggest aspirations in life. Nina Gualinga is the face and voice for many indigenous Ecuadorian women in the Amazon today. Natalie: Hi Ms. Nina Gualinga, I would first like to know where you are from are and how old are you? Nina Gualinga: I am from Puyo, Ecuador. My father is Swedish and my mother descents from the village of Sarayaku, and I belong to the Kichwa community. As of today, I am 26 years old. Natalie: How was growing up in the village of Sarayaku? Do you currently still live there? What are your most treasured memories in the Amazon? Nina Gualinga: Living in the Amazon has taught me how to appreciate the beauty and wonders of mother nature. Growing up in the jungle meant playing amongst the trees, canoeing through the rivers, walking barefoot on the wet jungle land, cooking by the open fires, and enjoying the music of the night birds and the frogs who sang the chorus beats of the jungle. My greatest teacher in the Amazon is my grandmother, she taught me the magic and tricks of the jungle. I would say my most treasured memory in the Amazon today is giving birth with my entire family in the jungle. I currently live in Sweden with my son. Natalie: Now, in detail, can you please explain what inspired you to start advocating for climate and wild life changes in the amazon at such a young age? Also, how old were you when you first started advocating for these changes? Nina Gualinga: My inspiration came from the beauty of my home. Being able to preserve the beauty of it, and most importantly the stability of it for future generations is what continues to motivate me. I began to acknowledge and also advocate for change at the age of eight. Despite, my lack of understanding at such a young age, I knew that advocating to protect my home from deforestation and climate change is my true passion. Natalie: What do you believe are the most impactful issues pertaining to the Ecuadorian Amazon today? Also, why do you believe these are challenges continue to occur today? Nina Gualinga: Unfortunately, the biggest issues are the substantial financial interests that continue to overpower my community. The development of these economic interests overshadows the rights of my indigenous people, the overall rights of a human, and the ecosystem itself. These people who are in power have no care on the effect of my people. That is why it is my duty to continue advocating for my people’s rights. I would also hope to create an understanding with these empowered individuals, making them comprehend that human beings like themselves with families live in the Amazon today. Natalie: What are some of the known platforms on which you have advocated for climate change and for the rights of the indigenous people in the Amazon? Also, what platforms do you currently use today when advocating for change? Nina Gualinga: At 18 years old, I was able to represent the youth of Sarayaku at the final hearing of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Costa Rica. In results of this hearing, I was able to win the case against the Ecuadorian government for violating Sarayaku rights and territory for oil drilling. In 2018, I was fortunate enough to win the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International President’s Youth Award. I feel that in today’s world the best platform to advocate for anything you are passionate about is on social media. Through social media, I have been able to bring awareness and teach others about the real issues occurring in the Amazon today. Most importantly, I have connected with people that share the same passion for the Amazon like myself. Natalie: Lastly, do you believe in feminism and do you consider yourself a feminist? Is there anything else you would like the readers to know? Nina Gualinga: I do believe in feminism and I am a feminist because I believe in the freedom to be who we are, and overall equality in the world. I would like to tell others that in order for us to create change we have to change our way of thinking. This is not only my battle; these issues are world-wide. This world cannot exist without indigenous people, and this world exists because of the Amazon. To finalize, learning about Nina Gualinga has truly been an empowering experience. As a feminist woman from the same ethnic background, she has inspired me to connect back to my roots and create change for my people. Her advocacy work will continue to prevail and change the world for the better. Nina Gualinga is truly a phenomenal resilient Amazonian woman. Works Cited Cartagena. “Environmental and Indigenous Rights Activist to Receive WWF's Top Youth Conservation Award.” WWF, 8 May 2018. Cartagena. “Activist Nina Gualinga on Protecting the Amazon.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, 8 May 2018. “Nina Sicha Siren Gualinga.” SDLAC, Sustainable Development in Latin American and the Caribbean, 7 Apr. 2018. “Nina, Eco Activist.” Powher Accessories – A Brand Created by Women for Women – Online Shop, Powher, 3 Nov. 2019 I am a student at Hostos Community College, enrolled in WGS 100 with Professor Jerilyn Fisher, Spring 2020. Our class wrote biographies as our "Making a Difference" project, done in partnership with WomensActivism.NYC.

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