September 23, 2019
Māori climate activist takes aim at Amazon fires
A Māori climate change activist wants to take Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and other world political and corporate leaders to court for ecocide and genocide.
Mike Smith, who chairs the iwi Leaders' Forum's climate change group, is at the United Nations in New York consulting with indigenous groups.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to address the General Assembly tomorrow on climate change.
He says climate change is having a major impact on indigenous peoples, from the tribes in the Amazon burned out by president Bolsonaro's cattle raising supporters to the Arctic peoples who are losing their environment of ice and snow.
That's why he's preparing a case of climate crime to take to the International Criminal Court.
"They're enabling these companies that are causing these problems. They're either enabling them or they are not doing enough to prevent their activities and as a result people are dying. The fate of the whole human race is in the balance at the moment. These people have names. They have faces. We know where they live, so I believe they should be held accountable for their actions," Mr Smith says.
He has also filed actions in the High Court in New Zealand asking that companies like dairy giant Fonterra, Genesis Energy and New Zealand Steel be required to halve their total net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Mike Smith says as a Māori he has more leeway to speak out that many other activists, with many indigenous people murdered in recent years for trying to protect their environment.
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