Filipino NatGeo Young Explorer wants more informed, empowered indigenous youth in biodiversity issues

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 5) — Josefa Tauli hopes to inform and empower her fellow indigenous youth to get a seat at the table on matters concerning nature.

"I'm particularly very excited to use the opportunity for the capacity development basically targeted towards indigenous youth," the 2020 National Geographic Young Explorer told CNN Philippines' The Exchange with Rico Hizon.

The 25-year-old Igorot indigenous people's rights and environmental advocate is among 24 youth all around the world who made it to NatGeo's 2020 Fall Young Explorers, which it announced this January.

"This can help facilitate access to information and the process like, by which we can gain confidence to represent ourselves in decision-making spaces about the environment, which have such deep implications for our future and the quality of life we get to enjoy in the future," Tauli said of her newfound platform.

The University of the Philippines alumna also reiterated how indigenous people play a crucial role in protecting the world's most biodiverse areas given their deep connection with their lands.

Tauli likewise thanked her parents and extended family members for being among her major mentors when it comes to her advocacies, noting they have been fighting for IP rights and lands even before.

"I learned a lot from them on how to navigate these issues and stay grounded to the values of indigenous people," she said.