top of page
Forest as Medicine: Intersections of biodiversity loss, traditional knowledge and mental health

It is well recognised that human health relies on thriving and healthy ecosystems, yet biodiversity loss is occurring at an unprecedented scale. While Indigenous peoples make up less than five per cent of the total human population, they steward about 80% of global biodiversity.


For Indigenous communities, changes to their ecosystems are more than a matter of material survival. They share a deep, layered connection with land and biodiversity on which their health, cultures and central identities rely.


Drawing on an entirely Indigenous panel with spokespeople and wisdom from across the globe, this event will focus on the impact that biodiversity loss is having on the lives of Indigenous communities and how these changes impact their mental health. It will also discuss the central role of Indigenous traditional knowledge in safeguarding the environment.

  • Sylvia Kokunda, Land Body Ecologies, CEO of Action for Batwa Empowerment Group

  • Archana Soreng, Khadia Tribe, member of United Nations Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, Indigenous Solidarity Working Group of YOUNGO (the official Children and Youth Constituency of UNFCCC), research Officer with Vasundhara, Odisha, board member of Land Rights Now

  • Laetania Belai Djandam, Indigenous environmental activist descending from the Dayak Tribe, student pursuing a BMedSci in Health and Human Sciences at The University of Sheffield

  • Cindy Kobei is an Indigenous rights activist from the Ogiek community of Mau Forest in Kenya. She is currently pursuing a post-graduate diploma in law at the Kenya School of Law and is Chair of the Tirap Youth Trust.

Moderated by Victoria Pratt (Creative Director, Invisible Flock) and Vishala Padmanabhan, founder of Buffalo Back Collective

bottom of page