Stop Blood Carbon projects on Indigenous lands

Write an email to Verra, one of the biggest carbon credit certification companies in the world, calling on them to scrap NRT’s blood carbon credits.

Since the first National Park in the United States was established 150 years ago, “Protected Areas” have been created by colonizers and elites stealing land from Indigenous peoples and local communities – in the name of “conservation”. Today, despite widespread and horrific human rights abuses inside these areas, and without any solid evidence that they help stop biodiversity loss, Protected Areas are still being pushed by big conservation NGOs (like WWF and WCS) as the “solution” to our very real environmental problems.

Branded as innocuous-sounding “Nature-Based Solutions” (NBS), Protected Areas are now being proposed as a way to mitigate climate change. It is claimed that Protected Areas can “protect” against deforestation and other carbon-releasing activities, and thus could be used to “compensate” for carbon emissions elsewhere. In practice, this means that Protected Areas can be used to generate ‘carbon credits’ that polluting companies, governments or individuals can buy in the markets to “offset” their emissions. The theory goes that it’s a win-win: more Protected Areas, more climate change being mitigated. Both biodiversity and the climate are saved!

But the reality is far different.


These people have sold our air”.  Emanuel, Rendille people, North Kenya.

Selling carbon credits from Protected Areas will be a disaster for people and the climate. It unites all the human rights abuses caused by fortress conservation, with all the environmental problems linked to greenwashing.

It kills people. The most common model of conservation is “fortress conservation”, and relies on the exclusion of Indigenous and local people from their land. Human rights organizations, independent investigations, and, increasingly, governmental inquiries have clearly documented over many years how the creation of Protected Areas, especially in Africa and Asia, are accompanied by increased militarization and violence. They are imposed without the consent of the original inhabitants, Indigenous or local communities, who lose their ancestral lands and are tortured, raped or killed simply if they try to access them. Protected Areas destroy the best guardians of the natural world, Indigenous peoples, in whose lands 80% of biodiversity is found.

Experience shows that the millions made from carbon credits won’t go to the communities in whose lands that carbon is being absorbed or stored. Developing carbon projects in Protected Areas will massively increase conservation industry funding, likely to fuel a huge expansion and militarization of Protected Areas. In practice, money supposedly going to “climate mitigation” will be used to evict people from their lands and fund rangers’ salaries and military equipment used to commit human rights violations against Indigenous people.  

It kills the environment, and can actually worsen climate change: the majority of Nature-based schemes to offset carbon emission are just greenwashing scams. Numerous investigations into offset projects that claim to save forests or other ecosystems, have shown that in reality they do very little or even nothing to prevent carbon emissions or store additional carbon. The offsets sold in such schemes are created through fraudulent ‘carbon accounting’, for example by claiming that an area would have been very rapidly destroyed without the carbon-saving project, whereas in fact it was not really under threat. A recent scientific study stated that more than 90% of rainforest offsets credits do nothing to reduce carbon. In other cases, projects supposedly preventing deforestation in one area simply resulted in trees being cut down and carbon released elsewhere instead, with zero benefit for the climate. As with fortress conservation areas, the easiest targets for carbon projects are the lands of Indigenous and local communities, whose ways of life are, ironically, often blamed for exacerbating climate change. Polluting companies that buy worthless ‘hot air’ credits from such projects claim to be ‘carbon neutral’, while they carry on releasing carbon into the atmosphere. The public are told the problem is solved, that continued overconsumption can be climate friendly and no change is necessary. Meanwhile, global warming worsens, and forest fires and desertification spread.  

It kills justice. Big conservation NGOs which gain from these carbon credit projects are partnering with the most polluting companies in the world, who use these offsets to avoid having to reduce their emissions. Following international pressure, much of the public money going to the conservation industry is now under scrutiny. New legislation is being put in place to stop taxpayers’ money funding human rights abuses in the name of conservation. New money coming from carbon offsetting will not be covered under these new legislative standards. This will enable the conservation industry to carry on abusing the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities – those least responsible for climate change.


Nature is being traded. Water now is being sold, as is the forest, the air and the Earth”, Ninawa Huni Kui, Huni Kui people, Brazil.

Carbon credit offsets are part of a new push for the commodification of nature. These projects put a price on nature, treating Indigenous and local communities’ lands as a carbon stock to be exchanged in the market so polluters can keep polluting, the conservation industry can get its hands on billions of dollars, and speculators can profit. This leaves Indigenous peoples and local communities dispossessed and stripped of their livelihoods. NbS offset schemes are carbon colonialism and won’t stop the climate crisis.

Survival is campaigning to end carbon projects in Protected Areas where the rights of Indigenous peoples are violated. 

Help us to stop Blood Carbon projects on Indigenous lands. Carbon colonialism is killing people and the planet.

The best way to protect our planet is to recognize and respect Indigenous peoples’ land rights.

Stop Blood Carbon projects on Indigenous lands

Write an email to Verra, one of the biggest carbon credit certification companies in the world, calling on them to scrap NRT’s blood carbon credits.


Survival International is at the forefront of the fight against false and distracting solutions to climate change that violate Indigenous peoples’ rights and allow multinational corporations to greenwash their image, while doing nothing to stop the climate crisis. We are also opposing nickel extraction in Indonesia for electric car batteries that will destroy the lives and lands of the uncontacted Hongana Manyawa.


Blood Carbon projects:


In northern Kenya, under the pretext of establishing a new type of Protected Area called ‘conservancies’, an organisation named the NRT has taken control of millions of hectares of land. This is inhabited by numerous Indigenous pastoralist peoples, such as the Samburu, Borana and Rendille. NRT is the initiative of Ian Craig, whose own ranch, now turned into a “conservancy” for rich tourists, is on land stolen from pastoralists. This land was given to his family, whose relationships with the British royal family is well documented, by the former colonial administration.

In an offset project in the area, started in 2013 with the help of the US-based Nature Conservancy, NRT claims to be storing millions of additional tons of carbon in the soil by reducing grazing pressure from the pastoralists’ herds. The claim is that the NRT stops the pastoralists from “overgrazing” and helps them to graze “sustainably”, so the vegetation can grow and more carbon can be stored. The resulting carbon credits have been sold to large companies including Meta (Facebook) and Netflix.

But the reality is that pastoralists have been grazing in sustainable ways for generations. New herding practices imposed by the project are arguably worse than the traditional grazing. There is no evidence that any additional carbon is being stored; in fact, the project depends on destroying the close relationship between the Indigenous communities, their herds and the environment, that same relationship that has allowed them to thrive in, and nourish, the wildlife-rich rangeland landscape. NRT’s armed rangers, who patrol the conservancies, limit the grazing areas of the pastoralists, which undermines their resilience to the impacts of climate change. The rangers have already been responsible for dozens of horrendous human rights abuses, including murder. No proper consent for the carbon project was given by the communities. The millions of dollars already earned from the sale of carbon credits will be used to reinforce NRT’s control over the area – to the great cost of tens of thousands of Indigenous people: those least responsible for climate change.

Stop Blood Carbon projects on Indigenous lands

Write an email to Verra, one of the biggest carbon credit certification companies in the world, calling on them to scrap NRT’s blood carbon credits.

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