This is our way of life — when are you going to face yours?

Maitreyi Shankar, coordinator of KKPKP reads Baida Bai Gaikwad's statement to the AWG-KP plenary

I speak on behalf of Baida, sitting by my side, who does not speak English.

My name is Baida Bai Gaikwad and I am a member of Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), a union of wastepickers in Pune,  India and a member of Climate Justice Now!.

I work as a wastepicker: I recover recyclable materials from the trash – materials that no one else sees any value in. But my recycling reduces emissions: it means less deforestation, less mining, and less energy used in factories. Instead of being rewarded for my work, I have been thrown out of work by a CDM-backed waste incinerator, which is reducing recycling and increasing emissions. Like me, a lot of people in developing countries have lost their livelihoods due to CDM projects.

This is the reality outside these walls and the consequences of the policy failure inside them. We know that many parties have made a huge effort to reach an agreement; but effort is not enough. Courage is what we need and solutions are not that far away.

All over the world, indigenous communities are protecting forests, small farmers their land and we the wastepickers are already recycling effectively. This is our way of life — when are you going to face yours?

Thank you very much.

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