This story has been tagged by the guest editor of Call to Earth Rodrigo Pacheco . He is a chef who grows sustainable food in his restaurant and creative permaculture project in Ecuador, and he is a former Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Goodwill Ambassador . Fabian Jimbijti sometimes walks for three days to find food for his community. He crosses mountains to collect salt from a sacred spring deep in the jungle, wades through rivers to catch eels, and searches the forest floor for herbs and wild foods. The finds are then distributed. to his family, spread over 24 villages in a tropical region of Ecuador stretching from the Andes mountains to the lowlands of the Amazon. The Shuar tribe, to which he belongs, has lived there for centuries. Growing up in the jungle alongside armadillos, monkeys and boa constrictors, 24-year-old Jimbijti (known as Shushui by his family) deeply respects nature and recognizes its fragility. The community knows they could make money by mining the land, Jimbijti says, for example by extracting and selling salt from the scarce water source.salty. But he chooses not to. We take enough but not too much, he says. That would be disrespecting everything and creating a total imbalance. Fabien Jimbijti (photo), by Angel Rouby in Morona Santiago province in Ecuador, feeds on the jungle. This attitude is true in most countries and has played a vital role in the preservation of the natural world. Indigenous peoples represent only 5% of the world's population and occupy less than a quarter of the world's surface area, their territories are home to around 80% of the world's biodiversity, according to the World Bank . Find out more On the other hand,modern dietary practices are responsible for almost 60 % of global biodiversity loss . To secure the future of the planet, the world must learn from indigenous practices, says Phrang Roy, who belongs to the Khasi Indigenous People in northeast India. He is one of the authors of a 2021 report led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on indigenous food systems, which warned of the growing threats to these unique traditions are facing. This is a lesson that is really important for modern times, when we are facing all the crises of climate degradation, increasing inequalities and loss of biodiversity, he says. The Shuar ple people live in the jungle mountain range that straddles Ecuador and Peru. In the photo, Tomas Unkuch, from a Shuar community in Chumpias, in the province of Morona Santiago in Ecuador. Giving back to nature With 476 million indigenous people around the world, living in territories ranging from the Arctic to the Sahara Desert, customs and traditions vary enormously . But at the heart of the philosophy of many indigenous groups is the idea of giving back to the Earth. Indigenous peoples are in harmony and interconnected with (nature) based on balance and collaboration, Roy says. In Roy 's Khasi community, located in the foothills of the Himalayas in the northeast of theIndia, it is customary to light a fire in the morning and boil water for tea before going to the fields. People then take the ashes from the fire and spread them over the communal crops like compost or fertilizer for the earth, showing their gratitude , explains Roy. The Khasi people live in a matrilineal society where titles and wealth are passed down from mother to daughter. When collecting honey from beehives at the top of trees, the Baka of Cameroon sprinkle seeds from fruit trees along the path to mark the path to the beehive. This helps to regenerate the area and spread biodiversity ty, compensating for the disturbance of vegetation during honey harvesting, according to the FAO report. This focus on maintenance and regeneration contraste with modern agriculture, which generally aims to achieve the highest yields for maximum profit. For example, fallow (leaving the ground unplanted for a while) has long been a tradition of indigenous peoples. But in modern agriculture, it has always been considered a wasteland. Roy explains how economic development in India has caused indigenous fallows to be converted to produce a single crop, like rice, year after year. Traditionally, the Shuar people were self-sufficient and self-reliant. In the photo, Sayda Unkuch with her son Kaar Mashingashi in Chumpias, Ecuador. Jimbijti saw this firsthand in the Shuar community. He says that since mining companies entered the region, canned and processed foods have been introduced. Her community now eats chicken, chocolate, butter and sardines which they have never done before.It is not just about changing diets but also health and fashion. of life. People have gotten lazy and put on weight, he says - adopting a more sedentary style than nomadic style.ie. Our culture is going through a very strong transition, says Jimbijti. We are losing our roots. Preservation To save these cultures, Roy urges nations to guarantee indigenous peoples rights to land and rights to traditional knowledge and language. “If a local language starts to deteriorate because it is not taught in local schools, community members forget the names of plants and herbs and ancient practices,” he says. have improved over the past two decades, with the implementation of the A declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and other treaties, there is still a long way to go. FAO report calls for more inclusive dialogues with indigenous peoples and to involve them in decisionsons of sustainable management. He concludes that the world cannot sustainably feed itself without listening to indigenous peoples. Roy believes the greatest lesson to be learned is the indigenous peoples' value system: the worldview as the land and nature is not a commodity.