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new year, same fight

These are the indigenous-led climate movements to watch out for in 2017.

This year, the Standing Rock Sioux reminded everyone that indigenous people stand at the forefront of the fight for a just and sustainable planet. Here is some of the Native activism that will lead next year’s charge against climate disaster.

  • In North America, pipelines put up the biggest fight. The Tsleil-Waututh First Nation and Ochapowace First Nation in Canada have vowed a “long battle” against two new pipeline expansions, which will trespass traditional territory and risk oil spills.
  • Indigenous groups across Latin America battle land grabs from energy and agricultural developers.
  • In the Niger Delta, the indigenous Ogoni and local fishermen lobby for justice in tribal land “devastated” by Shell oil spills. If the latest lawsuit moves forward, the oil giant will go to court and may be saddled with millions of dollars in cleanup.
  • Coalitions in Malaysia and Cambodia fight back against deforestation driven by palm oil and agriculture. And the Kyrgyz people in Kyrgyzstan continue to protest the operation of the largest open-pit mine in Central Asia.

At times, these conflicts can turn into bloody wars. 2015 was the deadliest year for environmental activists, and 40 percent of victims were from indigenous groups. The latest numbers suggests the death toll in 2016 may have tripled. Despite the challenges, indigenous activism doesn’t look like it’s slowing down next year.