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Polar Night Calendar brought up Southern partners’ thoughts on environmental justice

At the end of 2023, both the Siemenpuu Foundation and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders celebrated their 25th anniversaries. In honour of these, Siemenpuu published a 25-part Polar Night Calendar that ended on Winter Solstice Day (22 December). In the calendar, daily there were thoughts on environmental protection and environmental justice from Siemenpuu’s current and former partner organizations.

What does environmental justice mean for communities and organisations in the Global South?

“Environmental justice is about being aware of your own power and using it”

“Without women – nurturers of life, nature, knowledge and tastes – there is no social or environmental justice”

“Defending social environmental justice means having the conviction to fight for a more just, sustainable, inclusive and solidary global future”

“Environmental justice requires the development and implementation of measures to reduce, repair and compensate for ecological damage.”

“Communities have a collective right to engage in their traditional and cultural practices. A rights-based approach has made it possible to push decision-makers to strengthen the rights of communities.”

“Biocultural rights have given us much strength in negotiating our rights to land, our rights and role in protecting the environment, and our rights to our culture and language.”

“For us, climate justice is about respecting and promoting the rights of indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making and action on climate change”

“We believe that land rights, sustainable agriculture and decision-making power are critical to achieving equality and justice for women”

“Show your love for the environment by protecting and using natural resources fairly and with local wisdom”

A collage of pictures, where there are photos of men and women, and texts about their thoughts. At the background, there is an evening view, starry sky or Northertn lights.
Siemenpuu’s Polar Night Calendar, days 8 to 16

How do current and former partner organisations of Siemenpuu stand up for the environment and environmental justice?

“The key to sustainable development lies in the capacity of local communities to respond to the environmental problems they face”

“We support the strengthening of local communities’ governance systems so that they can effectively participate in conservation decision-making and manage their traditional land and forest resources sustainably.”

“Whoever understands the local reality and is prepared to understand its context in detail before sharing his own ideas is and will be a true defender of the environment or indigenous peoples”

“In the Biocultural Protocol, the Yiakus have documented their rights and ecological knowledge that must be passed on to future generations as they cherish the Mukogodo Forest as their home and source of livelihood”

“The philosophy, values and practices of indigenous communities are characterised by the sustainable use of natural resources and a symbiotic relationship with nature, or rather a unity with Mother Earth and nature.”

“WRM supports communities in their struggle against carbon offset projects, while defending their collective rights, centrality and autonomy”

“We all have a duty to fight to save the remaining forests. To restore the beautiful forests that we have borrowed from our children and grandchildren.”

“Our mission is to highlight and defend people’s right to a healthy living environment and to be part of the global struggle for environmental justice and equality.”

“Everyone, from municipal decision-makers to public authorities, must play their part in protecting forests. This is a common wish of all women, because we are the first to suffer from the problem.”

“Access to natural resources means empowering indigenous women. The land is important to us, it connects us to our well-being and our ancestors.”

A collage of pictures, where there are photos of men and women, and texts about their thoughts. At the background, there is an evening view, starry sky or Northertn lights.
Siemenpuu’s Polar Night Calendar, days 17 to 25

How has the support from Siemenpuu helped organisations and local communities?

“Working with Siemenpuu has led to the emergence of food sovereignty and environmental democracy movements among rural women who previously did not know they were the main protectors of the environment”

“With the support of Siemenpuu, we have taught young people about economic literacy, nature conservation and the ecological rights of communities.”

“Thanks to Siemenpuu for creating various forums for Adivasi leaders to share their views and concerns. This has led to improved forest and basic rights and livelihood opportunities for communities.”

“With the support of Siemenpuu, we have developed solutions to rural energy needs through community-based sustainable technologies”

“The lives of many intellectuals and activists would have been very different if they had not become partners in this journey to explore the contours and multiple elements of ecological democracy”


Congratulations for the 2023 Right Livelihood Award to Mother Nature Cambodia, youth people’s innovative environmental campaign organisation!

You can search the calendar posts with longer partners’ thoughts from Siemenpuu’s facebook and instagram pages (@siemenpuu) with the hashtag #PolarNightCalendar