Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Right Now: We're Facing a Global Emergency; Scientists Call for Urgent Changes in How We Use Land; New U.N. Report: World Food Supply Threatened; Fighting Climate Change in the Amazon Rainforest; Pakistan Outraged by India's Move, Downgrades Relations. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired August 8, 2019 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: This hour, there is nothing more urgent, more important, and more potentially catastrophic than the climate

emergency that we are living through right now. Don't shrug, do not give up. We are about to connect you to brand new details on what's going wrong

and more importantly how we can all help fix it.

I am Becky Anderson. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Time running out. So let's get started.

All right now. Picture this. You're in a building, it is on fire, the sprinklers come on and they spray out petrol. And everyone kind of hangs

out, pretending like nothing is really going on. Well, that is us right now, right here. How we are handling our climate crisis.

This hour, the world's leading authority on climate change putting out a brand-new major report, very clearly laying out that cutting down the gases

spewing out from cars and factories just won't cut it, folks. We have to change how we grow our food and the report criticizing that we have

destroyed a quarter of earth's land that is not locked under ice.

There is nowhere better than CNN to connect you to this climate emergency and the report's new findings, chief climate correspondent Bill Weir is in

Crescent, Iowa. Slap, bang in the middle of America's breadbasket. He will report to you from there. And senior international correspondent,

Nick Paton Walsh, with me in London. Let us just kickoff. Because this major new report is frightening.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well it certainly is. I mean, it tells -- the problem about climate reports form the IPCC

essentially is that this is stuff which you'll hear fringe activist groups warning about for decades. The point is, this is the consensus. You can't

deny this. There's no discussion. Everybody's got together and spent months agreeing on these central tenets of what the problem is. And it is

shocking. 70 percent of land that is not under ice is currently being used by humans, for forestry, for farming, for agriculture. 23 percent has

greenhouse gases that we create from the creation of food and actually 37 percent is for production and it includes the transportation costs. So

it's extraordinary to see exactly how much of what the problem is down to how you and I eat.

ANDERSON: Numbers do this. Don't they?

WALSH: They do.

ANDERSON: They kind of go over our heads. You have the report. Let's watch it.

WALSH (voice-over): A new U.N. report has emerged to reveal the shocking truth about how our food is ruining our planet. Officially estimating that

about a quarter of greenhouse gases in the last decade came from food, farming and land use. And that if we change what we eat and how we farm,

we could eliminate nearly all that. If we don't, U.N. experts warn chillingly we risk, quote, long term impacts, including rapid decline in

productivity of agriculture.

That's a big ask in Texas where beef, the biggest food culprit in greenhouse gas production is a way of life. Among the ribs, grills,

steaks, excess, try telling people here that time is running out to fix the climate emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here today because this is delicious.

WALSH: Beef and dairy agriculture are a key and often overlooked cause of greenhouse gases humankind must rapidly curtail if we want to live like we

do now.

(on camera): Think of it this way, half pound beef causes as much greenhouse gas to be emitted as driving 55 cars of these cars for one mile.

(voice-over): We drive out as the sunrises over beef country. 12 million cattle in Texas, where the extraordinary toll of something so natural as

beef on the planet emerges.

You have to make drastic changes by 2030 to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees. If you don't, beef and dairy will cause 10 percent of greenhouse

gases. If we do meet other 2030 emissions targets, they'll cause much more, 30 percent. Either way, we must act.

[11:05:04] America's hunger has hit a natural edge here.

(on camera): Well the first thing that hits you is just the smell. There's just so many so tightly packed together.

(voice-over): And there are nearly 1.5 billion cattle on earth. One for every five people. The United States and world will likely this year eat a

record amount of beef. We're going the wrong way. But it is the bottom line, livelihoods that understandably matter more here.

(on camera): Now when I said global warming, you said they say, do you believe in it? Or do you think this is all just being made up?

RAYMOND BUTLER, OWNER, NIXON LIVESTOCK COMMISSION: I don't believe in it.

WALSH: Why not?

BUTLER: I just don't.

WALSH: Why?

BUTLER: I just -- it's hard for me to believe that global warming has something to do with the rainfall.

WALSH: What would it take to change your mind about that?

BUTLER: There would have to be drastic change. Yes, we go through droughts, but that's normal periods. Here the last couple years hadn't had

much winter.

WALSH: You're saying you're seeing it getting warmer down here ready, but you want it to get really bad before you believe the scientists.

BUTLER: Right.

WALSH (voice-over): The U.N. report predicts in the next three decades basic food like cereals will get about 8 percent more expensive. And says

human use effects already nearly three quarters of the earth's ice-free surface. Huge changes are already happening and huge changes must be made

by humans if the way of enjoying life cherished here doesn't bring our way of life to change entirely.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH: This is basically the problem. You and I have to do things tomorrow that we really can't even conceive making those changes about

today. And often politicians for leadership or the commander in chief for the world to some degree thinks climate change is a hoax, Donald Trump.

So this is really a challenge between trying to persuading global leaders to suddenly persuade global leaders -- who often live in four term

electoral cycles -- to suddenly persuade people to make a generational shift in behaviors. It's uncomfortable. It ruins the fact that you're

taking a plane every week or getting that Uber into work or eating a burger for lunch. And so many people are looking at this, and some of the younger

generation probably will consider it being things they have to do. But it's that delay -- and reports like this sound an extraordinary alarm about

how little time we have left. I mean, potentially ten years to fix this.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh with me here in the studio. Bill's in the States. Scientists say farmers could play a major role in helping us out

of what is this climate crisis. Agriculture and food production are major drivers of global warming as we have been discussing. And climate change

undermines food security and access. Early warning systems are critically needed to preserve crop yields because of extreme weather.

Bill, you're in America's breadbasket. What are you seeing?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Becky. The report lays out that the effects are being felt now. This is not a

future story. It's happening now and you don't have to twist arms here in Iowa to convince farmers of all political stripes. Things are bad between

the weather and trade wars with China, that the national meeting of the American Corn Growers held a seminar on suicide prevention this year. But

as you say, the good news is, unlike fossil fuel sector workers, farmers could actually switch from being part of the problem to part of the

solution.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUSTIN JORDAN, IOWA FARMER: We had a very, very wet spring and --

WEIR: Too much rain to plant.

JORDAN: Too much rain to plant.

WEIR: Yes.

WEIR (voice over): Justin Jordan is among the millions of American farmers living on an emotional roller coaster that only seems to go down.

JORDAN: So this corn is -- is almost two feet shorter than it normally is.

WEIR: Thanks to a bizarre spring, he's looking at a 30 percent drop in yield.

JORDAN: It's kind of a feeling of helplessness and stress is what it kind of feels like.

WEIR (on camera): Yes.

JORDAN: So -- but you just do what you can with what you have to work with.

WEIR (voice over): At least he has a crop. Too many farmers lost everything to epic floods and even the lucky ones are losing sleep over

fear of an early frost, and trade wars, and the highest farm debt in a generation.

And on top of it all comes the latest alarming report from the IPCC, which finds that growing food from India to Iowa will only get harder as the

climate gets harsher.

DR. EUGENE TAKLE, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, IOWA STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRONOMY: So we're going to see by current -- mid-century, by current projections,

that our number of days above 90 degrees is going to rise from about 17 days per year above 90 degrees in De Moines. That will be up more like 50

to 70.

WEIR: The report finds that about three quarters of the earth's ice- free surface has been paved, plowed or deforested. Great for economies,

horrible for nature's cycles.

[11:10:03] And with all the diesel and fertilizer used to grow the modern meal, they say agriculture is to blame for nearly a quarter of greenhouse

gas emissions.

(on camera): But here's the good news. Right now every corn plant in this field is pulling carbon out of the sky and pulling it in the ground. And

with the right amount of innovation and financial motivation, a smart farmer can leave it there and still feed the world. Iowa could be one

giant carbon sink. And unlike minors and drillers and frackers, they don't have to change careers in order to help save life as we know it.

JORDAN: Just listen to all the birds, too. Something you don't hear when you walk out in a cornfield. I mean there's just so much more, like I

said, not only the plant biodiversity, but the wildlife diversity --

WEIR (on camera): Life. Life.

JORDAN: Exactly. Exactly.

WEIR (voice over): Justin takes advantage of a federal program that pays him to let part of his fields go wild, which brings higher yields in the

long-term. Over in Nebraska, Brandon Honeycutt is trying out cutting edge science -- funded by Bill Gates -- that uses bacteria instead of synthetic

fertilizer, the stuff that creates ocean dead zones and red tides.

ERNIE SANDERS, VICE PRESIDENT OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, PIVOT BIO: That's all a petroleum-based kind of products industry that we live in. And the

more we can move to a more natural, bacteria based, I think that's better for all of us.

WEIR: And even some conservatives like Ray Gaesser are joining this green revolution, even though the Republican refuses to blame a warming planet

entirely on human habits.

WEIR (on camera): So how do you feel about big members of your party, even the President, casting doubt and skepticism into whether or not humans can

even help stop this?

RAY GAESSER, IOWA FARMER: Well I think it's more about not having severe regulations, you know. I think a one size fits all regulation really does

not fit agriculture anywhere.

WEIR (voice over): But like many Republican neighbors, he still embraces wind energy, cover crops and soil conservation.

GAESSER: Well, as we farm a little bit differently, as we sequester nutrients and carbon, you know, we're all -- you know, we're doing the

right thing, you know. And that's what it's about is trying to do the right thing. We all want to do that.

WEIR: Absolutely.

GAESSER: And it shouldn't be political.

WEIR: Amen, brother.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WEIR: But of course, everything in America is political these days, especially in Iowa which helps pick the Democratic candidate for President.

Elizabeth Warren released her plan yesterday and spending a week here. It's increasingly obvious that if the Democrat wants to win Iowa, they're

going to have to have farmers at the table to talk about this new incentivized economy for them. Imagine the way we would buy dolphin safe

tuna off the shelves at the supermarket. Buying carbon neutral corn or soybeans could be the future to create entire incentives and get all of

these farmers rowing the same direction, despite political ideology -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Bill Weir reporting for you. Bill, thank you.

Well Greenpeace says we must make some hard choices. The group was heavily involved in putting together that U.N. report, that major report we have

been reporting on this hour. It says eating less meet and restoring forests will give new hope for nature and people. That's you and me.

Activists in Switzerland unveiled a message ahead of the report's release. The banner says, less meat equals less heat. Climate action now.

Let's bring in Richard George from Greenpeace. Richard, you say the world faces an urgent wakeup call. How urgent?

RICHARD GEORGE, HEAD OF FORESTS, GREENPEACE U.K.: Well as this report says, a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions are coming from the way we farm

and the food that we eat. If we don't act in next ten years, we're facing climate catastrophe. And already roughly a million species are at risk of

humanity's actions.

ANDERSON: You recently authored a report about the of loss of more than I think 50 million hectors of force globally. That is a land mass twice the

size of the U.K. where we are today. That's an enormous amount of land. Deforestation, driven by massive profits. Big business generates from

commodities like palm oil and soil and grazing cattle. Without sounding defeatist, money talks. Any real sign that big business cares?

GEORGE: I think companies are very keen to persuade us that they care. But when we look at commitments made to end deforestation, over 400 of the

biggest brands pledge to do just that. We couldn't find any evidence of real change from any of them on palm oil, on animal feed and on cattle.

Big businesses like McDonald's, KFC, Tesco, Walmart, continue to source commodities that are driving deforestation. And they'll tell us that

they're prepared to act, they won't put their money where their mouth is.

ANDERSON: We need a trillion more trees as far as I understand it. How do you incentivize people, corporations, government to actually make that

happen?

[11:15:03] GEORGE: Well both companies and governments have pledged to plant hundreds of millions of hectors of trees by the end of this decade,

and even more by 2030.

ANDERSON: Is it enough?

GEORGE: It should be if they delivered. Now analysis by scientists suggests that actually what they're passing off as reforestation is just

mono crop plantations that we logged for pulp and paper. So it's making the crisis even worse. Now companies will listen to one thing and that's

their customers. And to governments as well to be fair. We need action from government to make trading and deforestation illegal. We need to see

countries like Brazil, Indonesia and the countries in the Congo basin have strong regulations to ban deforestation. And ultimately, we need to eat a

lot less meat and dairy.

ANDERSON: Research shows meat consumption is related to living standards. You said we need to eat less meat. Demand associated with high incomes. I

just want our viewers a sense of the top meet consuming countries here. U.S., Israel, Malaysia, Peru, Australia. Are alternative meat options

really better for the environment? We've got meatless burgers, haven't we. Like the impossible burger, for example, becoming very trendy, very popular

in the United States and elsewhere. Is that the future?

GEORGE: It could be. And certainly direct meat alternatives say a vegetable burger instead of beef burger, are part of the solution. Now one

of the challenges, is that it's the same multinational companies who are involved in deforestation who are producing these crops. There's a big

risk and all we do is switch one problem for another.

Now when we talk about meat, we talk about people. We all need to eat less meat. Fine. These global companies are driving consumption of meat and

dairy all over the world. KFC is opening two restaurants a day in China and you can bet there's not a vegan burger on the menu.

ANDERSON: So, Richard, I have been discussing with Nick Paton Walsh where challenges are, not the least the fact that many governments, particularly

in the West work in four to five-year cycles. We've talked about the responsibility of big business. They have to be driven by the consumer.

When it comes down to it, is it about you and me taking the decision to promote change? I mean, whose responsibility is this.

GEORGE: We all as individuals have a lot of power. We buy these companies' products. We vote for governments. We need to let decision

makers and policy makers know what we think. And here in the U.K., there's a lot of conversation about Brexit, and people aren't talking about the

climate emergency in the way that they could. And in other countries, local domestic issues take prominence.

And what we should doing, is talking about the state of the world's climate and the urgent action that's needed. And we need to see leadership

in government. And that will only happen citizens tell them and demanded.

ANDERSON: And how damaging is a Donald Trump who says climate change is a hoax.

GEORGE: I think these kind of politicians on the world stage like to get the attention and uproar. We see it with Bolsonaro in Brazil as well. But

we know categorically, poll after poll, popular opinion is on the side of climate action. Whether we're talking about the U.S. or Brazil or any

other country in the world. We know what needs to happen. We need to hold companies to account and governments responsible. We can deliver it if we

work together.

ANDERSON: Thank you, sir.

GEORGE: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: To learn a lot more about climate, climate crisis, climate change, climate catastrophe -- call it what you will -- it's all at the

website CNN.com/climate. You will find there the latest news, articles from global politics, to business, to the clothes we wear and the food we

eat. The food we eat today and perhaps the food we should give up eating tomorrow.

We're sticking with this story throughout the hour. And we head to the Amazon rainforest -- the lungs of the earth -- and a key battle front in

combatting climate change. Now in a David and goliath struggle. One indigenous tribe there fighting the latest threat from industry. We will

talk to someone representing that tribe live from the Amazon in Ecuador.

First up though, Indian control, Kashmir under a communications blackout as critics slam a controversial move by New Delhi as the theft, quote, of

people's land and identity in broad daylight.

And --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATIE TAYLOR, UNDISPUTED LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CAMPION: It's in the arena where Yana Zavyalova herself as well and what I'm made of.

My passion for boxing comes from a genuine belief that this is what I was born to do. I felt since I was six or seven years of age that I was born

to box.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: And born to win. We meet the game changing athlete Katie Taylor. Now the undisputed world champion. We have more on what is her incredible

story later in the show.

Taking a very short break. Back after this.

[11:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Outrage on the streets of Pakistan over a move by India to tighten its control over one of the most volatile and disputed territories

in the world that is claimed by both nuclear armed neighbors. You and I know and may know more about what is happening with that Indian control

Kashmir than the people that live there. And that is because it is under a broad communications blackout as we speak.

Troops as we understand it out on the streets of Jammu and Kashmir, enforcing a security clamp down after New Delhi stripped the Muslim

majority territory of its special status. Giving the central government greater control. One Kashmiri politician warns at once people start

understanding what's been happening over the past few days, the situation there is going to turn very, very volatile.

Well Pakistan is furious over the move and has downgraded relations with India. I am joined by the Pakistani High Commissioner to the U.K.,

Mohammad Nafees Zakaria. And, sir, thank you for joining us. There is a communications blackout. What can you tell us about what is going on in

Kashmir as we speak?

MOHAMMAD NAFEES ZAKARIA, HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR PAKISTAN TO U.K.: Thank you very much, Becky. In fact, this is a matter of great concern to us. And

you have seen that everybody is expressing concern, including people in this country. And I think this is worrisome that there's atrocities in

that part of the world which is under the occupation of India in Jammu and Kashmir.

And we are concerned about it. Because you have seen the OHCHR report -- the UN's report -- last year and this year also which has elaborated as to

what all sorts of atrocities have been perpetrated against the defenseless Kashmiris, Kashmiri Muslims that were there. And this what it really is

for us.

Second, I think the action that India has taken is a violation, it's a blatant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.

Because it does not allow any material change or permanent change in the status of Jammu, Kashmir, because it's disputed territory. It is an

internationally recognized dispute. Which is on the agenda of the UN Security Council.

ANDERSON: Right. And will work out -- we'll discuss whether we think anything will happen from that end going forward. Indian's Prime Minister

spoke to the nation just moments ago in a televised address as I understand it.

Narendra Modi said, and I quote, we will free Jammu and Kashmir of terrorism. He also said he is confident that the people of Jammu and

Kashmir will defeat separatism and move forward with new hopes. Your reaction.

ZAKARIA: Well I think you need to understand there's a self-determination movement which has been also promised to them.

[11:25:00] Which they're doing it for their right to self-determination which is in enshrined in the UN Security Council resolutions. Which call

for, you know, right to self-determination for the Kashmiris which is to be supervised by the U.N. But they can use any excuse to justify their action

but the fact of the matter is that they are actually pursuing this right to self-determination.

ANDERSON: Sir, why do you believe India has done this now?

ZAKARIA: Well I think this has been going on for quite some time. And the international community and the world has not been paying much attention to

this tragedy, which is going on for many, many, many decades. If you look at the statistics, in 1947, on 27 October, when they land illegally into

the territory which was supposed to go to Pakistan -- according to the partition plan. They landed over there, and they carried on massacre of

people according to British media more than 300,000.

ANDERSON: And this is '47. And we are now in 2019. Let me put this to you. Because you said that the international community has sort of turned

its back. It just hasn't taken this issue on as it might have done. With the greatest respect, you know, Pakistan doesn't seem to have many options

at this point. One commentator writing today that the only option seems to be to throw up its hands in the air and say it would complain before

international forums. This seems to be -- would you agree - a dearth of international interest or leadership. But what happens next and what to do

about this.

ZAKARIA: First of all, I must say that whatever the circumstances may be, the government of Pakistan is determined to express its solidarity and

support to Kashmiri's, number one. Number two, is that we have been taking -- this is our responsibility as a responsible member of the international

community to create awareness to what's happening in the occupied Kashmir. And there is blatant human rights violations which are going on and these

are documented. It's not me who saying that. These are documented by the U.N., by Amnesty International. And so many other institutions.

ANDERSON: Did the U.S. President antagonize Narendra Modi when he said -- with the Pakistani Prime Minister in the White House only a week or so ago

-- I can sort this out for you. Well I've been asked to.

ZAKARIA: Well, OK. This a dispute. I understand it's a matter of concern to everyone. Because you understand that this dispute -- you referred to

two nuclear armed neighbors. OK. Now this dispute is a matter of concern to everyone. And they -- people want to play their role in mediation and

resolve this issue peacefully and can be. And this is what our policy is. We want the amicable resolution of this dispute in accordance with the U.N.

Security Council resolutions.

ANDERSON: How concerned are you about what happens next?

ZAKARIA: Well I think everybody with a common concern -- should be a common concern to the world because the way things are moving, they have

taken a very dangerous spot. They have closed down the whole valley. There are no words coming out. I don't know how many people they might

have killed by now or maybe transported somewhere. This is something based on record I am talking about. So I think this is going to escalate the

situation. This is going to escalate the tension in that region.

ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it there. Sir, we thank you very much indeed for coming on.

ZAKARIA: Thank you.

ANDERSON: We're connecting your world live from London.

And out next, it's a David versus Goliath fight for the future of the Amazon rainforest. For now, David is winning. Will that change? We talk

to someone live in the Amazon helping an indigenous tribe there fight a very difficult battle. That, up next.

[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with us here on CONNECT THE WORLD. We are covering a climate in crisis on the heels of a new major United Nations report that

has dire warnings about impact of climate change for the world's future. But also provides potential solutions. Now it says the preservation and

restoration of forests could reverse buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The reason, trees draw down atmospheric carbon and store it in the soil. While protections in place for those vital forests and sometimes it takes a

David versus Goliath style fight. And that is just what happened when one Amazonian tribe in Ecuador battled the government to protect the rainforest

and their home.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): Called the lungs of the earth, the Amazon is the world's largest rainforest. And one of the most biologically diverse

places on the planet. Its 6 million square kilometers of forest are a key buffer against increasing levels of carbon in our atmosphere. But this

precious natural resource has long been under threat.

Now one tribe is fighting back.

NEMONTE NENQUIMO, WAORANI TRIBE LEADER (through translator): We came here for our right to live. We haven't come here to negotiate with the

government. We came here to get the government to respect our jungle, our land. It's our home.

ANDERSON: Nemonte Nenquimo is a leader of the Waorani. One of a number of indigenous tribes that still call the rainforest home. The Ecuadorian

government has sought to expand oil production in the region to boost an ailing economy. A move that threatens the tribal way of life. In

response, the Waorani people have taken to the streets and courts of Ecuador to prevent the government selling their ancestral lands to oil

companies.

With the help of an NGO called Amazon Frontlines, the tribe won a landmark case in April which campaigners say protects a half million acres of

rainforest. That ruling was upheld against an appeal by the ministries of environment and energy, a second victory for Nemonte and her tribe.

NENQUIMO (through translator): We have won the victory. This means that our children and future generations are going to live healthy, free and

happy.

ANDERSON: This story is a rare glimmer of hope in a fight to save the Amazon. And could pave the way for other tribes to take similar action.

Ecuadorian officials were not available for comment. In July they said in a statement.

It is important to highlight this ruling does not affect in any way the oil production in our country. We confirm our commitment to develop our

natural resources with the highest social and environmental standards, respecting the communities' rights in the key project areas.

NENQUIMO: The only message I can give to the other countries is to have a sword to defend our jungle for future generations because we are not

children, and it's our children who benefit.

ANDERSON: While the Waorani lands are protected for now, other parts of the Amazon are at increasing risk. The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

has undone decades of rainforest protections, causing deforestation in Brazil to accelerate in June to over 1.5 football fields every minute.

[11:35:06] And leading researchers to fear the Amazon is at a dangerous tipping point. Unless drastic action is taken, Nemonte and tribes like

hers may be the last ones standing in defense of this priceless natural resource.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well we are going to take you to now the Amazon for a live report from the leader of the NGO that helped that tribe win what is a

landmark case. Mitch Anderson, is the CEO of the Amazon Frontlines, a nonprofit organization that he helped found four years ago. Joining us by

Skype from Lago Agrio in Ecuador. Sir, you have said -- and thank you. The fate of the Amazon is in their hands. Referring to these indigenous

communities in the Amazon. Tell us just what is at stake for these communities?

MITCH ANDERSON, CEO, AMAZON FRONTLINES (via Skype): Well, their life is at stake. Indigenous peoples across the Amazon are owners of 25 percent of

the entire basin. That's 10 times the size of California. And you know, they're very physical, cultural and spiritual survival is on the line.

They have been protecting these lands for thousands of years, swimming alone upstream against innumerable waves of resource extraction. And you

know, now here we are in the 21st century with scientific reports coming out, showing that our global economic system is driving us to planetary

collapse. And it is premised on extraction of natural resources. And for indigenous people across the Amazon -- such as the Waorani -- you know the

issue is very clear. It's about way of life. It's about a way of life premised on the destruction of their lands versus their way of life which

is about connection to the forest and about survival.

ANDERSON: Mitch, just how significant is this case we've just reported on in the broader scheme of things?

MITCH ANDERSON: Well hopefully the Waorani victory, coupled with what's happening in Brazil with Bolsonaro will spark a shift in how the world

conceives of the urgent threats facing the Amazon and the big question of how to save the Amazon rainforest.

Because what I was just saying is, indigenous peoples are the customary owners of huge tracks of forest and is some of the most best protected and

healthy forests on the planet, and it's under threat. And Indigenous peoples across the basin need the resources, the networks and the

capacities and the backing of the international community so they can continue to protect their lands and their way of life against what's

amounting to all-out assault on their territories. And ultimately is going to lead to the destruction of their forests and our climate.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about Brazil's President. He is a climate change denier, much like the U.S. President, Donald Trump. The far-right leader

says recent reports of a spike in deforestation are in bad faith and erode the image of Brazil. Your response and how do you counter a comment like

that?

MITCH ANDERSON: Yes, well, he's not living in the Amazon rainforest. He's living in the capital city, and he's living in essentially a racist and

violent bubble. Indigenous peoples are living in the forest. They never poison their fishing holes. The never clear cut their lands because they

live in them. Because it's their pharmacy, it's their market, it's their home.

You know, and what we're seeing here in the upper Amazon as well as in Brazil is what's to be expected when, you know, we have a global economic

system that's premised on the destruction of ecosystems around the world and also the marginalization of the people that are living closest to the

land. And in this case in the Amazon, it's the indigenous people who have the strongest ties to the land and rivers and they have the most to offer

in terms of how to protect it in the face of massive climate change and all the threats that we're seeing here.

ANDERSON: So, Mitch, let's not sort of underestimate just how big a challenge it is taking on big corporations and governments. It is a huge

challenge and often these cases do not have positive results. I just want your sense of what was different in the case you fought so hard with the

Waorani people for.

MITCH ANDERSON: Yes, no, the Waorani people are historic hunter harvester tribe, legendary warriors. They've been protecting an area larger than

Yellowstone National Park -- 2.5 million acres -- against innumerable waves of resource extraction over centuries. And you know, they knew that the

Ecuador government cash strapped, indebted to China, wanted to exploit their land and drill for oil there and knew what they had to do.

[11:40:07] You know, they knew that they had to show the world their land is more than a patch of green waiting to be exploited for oil. Their land

is their home. It has thousands of creeks. It's their hunting grounds. It's the reproductive grounds for animals. It's the home of immense

biodiversity. It's their spiritual birthplace and they wanted to protect them.

So they created a map. A territorial map to show the world what their territory means to them. And that digital interactive map was able to

really capture the imagination of people across Ecuador, the upper Amazon in the world, to say, look the Waorani people are fighting for their lives

against oil drilling, against this mighty industry, and we need to back them.

This case is very familiar across the Amazon. What happens is you have governments and industries coming in and essentially trampling on

indigenous people's internationally recognized rights to pre-prior and informed consent. To essentially decide what happens on their lands.

And in this case, the Ecuadorian government came in, didn't really consult even really consult with the Waorani people. Tried to trick them. Showed

up for a half hour in various community visits and then proceeded to auction their land to the oil industry. And the Waorani people working

with my organization, Amazon Frontlines, we basically took the Ecuadorian government to court and we won.

ANDERSON: And won. Yep. I'm going to leave it there. Listen, it is fantastic speaking to you. We learned so much. I'm taking a short break

at this point. Going to pay for the show. Thank you. We'll have you back.

Coming up. While kids her age had posters of bands on their bedroom walls, she had one Mohammad Ali. Now Katie Taylor is a boxing legend. More on an

amazing journey up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: From small town beginnings to undisputed world champion. As a kid, Katie Taylor, disguised herself as a boy to fight in competitions.

Now she is the most successful female boxer of her generation. The CNN special -- I met her in her hometown of Bray in Ireland.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAYLOR: Afterward I feel joy, relief, satisfaction, and then an hour later I'm thinking about the next fight.

When I look at all my belts, I feel proud and I feel like oh, this is so wild. All the sacrifices that I made are so worthwhile and I just feel

great. All the sacrifices me and my family have made has been all worth it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Our connect the world special, Katie Taylor #undisputed. Through the week, kicking off Saturday, 1:30 p.m. in London, 4:30 in Abu

Dhabi where we normally broadcast from. You can catch it in the second part of our show, Sunday. That is 4:30 p.m. London, 7:30 p.m. in Abu

Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. For the team here it's a very good evening.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)

[12:00:00]

END