Having a Swedish father and an Ecuadorian mother, activist Nina Gualinga grew up between two cultures. She feels it is her duty to bridge those worlds — the western and the indigenous — and to protect the Amazon rainforest where she spent most of her childhood. Nina is now an indigenous woman leader of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon. During the past years, she’s seen firsthand how indigenous lives and territories have been threatened by the government and corporations. Indigenous people for generations have also safeguarded biodiversity for the welfare of the whole planet. The global pandemic has made their struggle even worse. In this episode Nina talks about her fight for justice, being a single mother, and deciding to speak up about the physical abuse that she suffered from her son’s father. 


Portrait Nina Gualinga

Nina Gualinga, environmentalist and indigenous rights activist


“I don’t want to romanticize life in the forest because it’s also hard; you have to learn to be careful, you have to provide for yourself and kids, you have to learn how to hunt and fish. But all of those things are super important to be able to understand how this world and ecosystems work and learn how to respect that.”

“I respect every mother’s choice on how to give birth and what makes every woman feel safer, but in my case, I felt safer at home, in the Amazon. I felt that if I’m going to give life, I don’t want it to be in a hospital.”

“I remember when a representative of this Argentinian oil company came to our territory and offered our people money and whatnot. When we didn’t accept the intrusion, the Ecuadorian government sent militaries to our communities and started threatening and torturing; some were persecuted by the government. That’s where I started to understand the dynamics of these industries.”

“Indigenous people are 4-5% of the entire world’s population, but indigenous people are protecting more than 80% of the world’s biodiversity.”


“For me, one of the most important things — which is also why I wanted to give birth in the Amazon — is wanting my child to be connected with nature and what it provides for him growing up.”

“One of the changes that are worrying me is how the climate patterns are changing in the Amazon. For example, massive floods due to deforestation. It destroyed huge parts of my community.”

“No matter where you are in the world, we are all part of this world. We are all connected in some way. I think what we haven’t seen before and what this pandemic has shown is how something that happens in one part of the world can actually affect everyone.”

“I envision a world where women are safe and equal and where children are safe and where people are aware and respectful of our surroundings and the living beings around us.”


“Sometimes as a mother, you’re expected to be just a mother. But I feel that women have so many different roles and identities. For me, my motherhood is a very present and strong role and identity but I definitely see myself also as a young woman, a defender.”

“Becoming a mother, I work more intensely. I dare to do things that I would have never dared before and I have been able to put a lot of my fears away in order to continue with my work.”

“For me personally there has never been anything more empowering than becoming a mother. It completely changed me and my perspective on life, my place as a woman and what kind of power I have as a woman to shape another generation of people.”

episode preview

Pilot episode: The power of feminine energy and what it means to Artipoppe, explained by Anna van den Bogert

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Episode 11: Gabrielle Bernstein on removing stigma around medical intervention and spiritual motherhood

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Episode 10: Zach Bush on motherhood, parenting, holistic health and bridging science, spirit and nature

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Episode 9: Jeanne de Kroon about a sustainable and socially fair future for all 

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Episode 8: Samira Rafaela about true diversity and more women in leadership positions

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Episode 7: Carson Meyer about changing the status quo when it comes to birthing

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Episode 6: What we can learn from indigenous communities with Nina Gualinga

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Episode 5: Mama Medicine on motherhood from a spiritual point of view

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Episode 4: Ella Mills about changing the global food culture

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Episode 3: Linda Tol on miscarriage, overcoming infertility and being in an interracial relationship

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Episode 2: Building a wiser and kinder world with Holiday Phillips

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Episode 1: Danielle Duboise on food as medicine and motherhood

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