The Fort Worth Press - Climate crisis: Indigenous groups both victims and saviours

USD -
AED 3.672991
AFN 70.737778
ALL 93.90921
AMD 387.684865
ANG 1.800666
AOA 855.500838
ARS 902.188398
AUD 1.511984
AWG 1.8
AZN 1.699256
BAM 1.82663
BBD 2.017344
BDT 117.416866
BGN 1.823845
BHD 0.376571
BIF 2871.819298
BMD 1
BND 1.352461
BOB 6.903798
BRL 5.350492
BSD 0.999145
BTN 83.469738
BWP 13.60306
BYN 3.269311
BYR 19600
BZD 2.013981
CAD 1.373595
CDF 2844.999892
CHF 0.89062
CLF 0.033537
CLP 925.379759
CNY 7.255298
CNH 7.270245
COP 4138.57
CRC 526.750816
CUC 1
CUP 26.5
CVE 102.982586
CZK 23.113597
DJF 177.899815
DKK 6.970801
DOP 59.324844
DZD 134.813653
EGP 47.729798
ERN 15
ETB 57.144712
EUR 0.934405
FJD 2.238696
FKP 0.784602
GBP 0.78849
GEL 2.869929
GGP 0.784602
GHS 15.038549
GIP 0.784602
GMD 67.74986
GNF 8601.728751
GTQ 7.761169
GYD 209.056565
HKD 7.81215
HNL 24.694713
HRK 7.018438
HTG 132.537603
HUF 372.329952
IDR 16486.5
ILS 3.724175
IMP 0.784602
INR 83.55205
IQD 1308.845024
IRR 42100.00005
ISK 139.470006
JEP 0.784602
JMD 155.494226
JOD 0.7089
JPY 157.334002
KES 129.376996
KGS 87.859899
KHR 4115.007262
KMF 457.498588
KPW 900.000131
KRW 1383.280182
KWD 0.30672
KYD 0.832715
KZT 451.707504
LAK 21821.866697
LBP 89484.876928
LKR 303.871712
LRD 193.833093
LSL 18.346058
LTL 2.95274
LVL 0.604889
LYD 4.844426
MAD 10.040861
MDL 17.789981
MGA 4447.495365
MKD 57.545659
MMK 2612.965168
MNT 3450.000098
MOP 8.038834
MRU 39.355944
MUR 46.749769
MVR 15.409952
MWK 1732.393774
MXN 18.466494
MYR 4.719498
MZN 63.695036
NAD 18.346058
NGN 1495.494684
NIO 36.779162
NOK 10.6824
NPR 133.551879
NZD 1.629875
OMR 0.384911
PAB 0.999145
PEN 3.776262
PGK 3.89366
PHP 58.69891
PKR 278.3087
PLN 4.093431
PYG 7514.604727
QAR 3.643733
RON 4.650202
RSD 109.335818
RUB 89.003719
RWF 1310.993121
SAR 3.751599
SBD 8.4616
SCR 14.340133
SDG 586.000017
SEK 10.518975
SGD 1.353205
SHP 1.26345
SLE 22.847303
SLL 20969.501917
SOS 571.0203
SRD 31.57202
STD 20697.981008
SVC 8.742756
SYP 2512.530426
SZL 18.335411
THB 36.69019
TJS 10.685757
TMT 3.5
TND 3.127256
TOP 2.35645
TRY 32.7952
TTD 6.789855
TWD 32.364009
TZS 2623.01396
UAH 40.655823
UGX 3711.538551
UYU 39.160748
UZS 12603.727416
VEF 3622552.534434
VES 36.483634
VND 25455
VUV 118.721975
WST 2.800615
XAF 612.634548
XAG 0.033909
XAU 0.00043
XCD 2.70255
XDR 0.757251
XOF 612.634548
XPF 111.383515
YER 250.300789
ZAR 18.36105
ZMK 9001.203834
ZMW 26.152618
ZWL 321.999592
  • SCS

    0.0700

    12.4

    +0.56%

  • AZN

    0.0600

    79.59

    +0.08%

  • RIO

    -0.4100

    66.51

    -0.62%

  • CMSC

    0.0400

    24.54

    +0.16%

  • NGG

    0.4000

    56.55

    +0.71%

  • RBGPF

    0.0000

    56.5

    0%

  • RYCEF

    -0.1700

    5.81

    -2.93%

  • GSK

    -0.4600

    40.65

    -1.13%

  • BP

    -0.3000

    34.89

    -0.86%

  • BTI

    0.0300

    30.63

    +0.1%

  • BCC

    -3.9000

    126.6

    -3.08%

  • BCE

    -0.3754

    32.88

    -1.14%

  • RELX

    -0.4300

    45.22

    -0.95%

  • CMSD

    -0.1000

    24.36

    -0.41%

  • JRI

    -0.0865

    11.89

    -0.73%

  • VOD

    -0.0100

    8.74

    -0.11%

Climate crisis: Indigenous groups both victims and saviours
Climate crisis: Indigenous groups both victims and saviours

Climate crisis: Indigenous groups both victims and saviours

Long portrayed as victims of climate change, indigenous peoples who have struggled for years to protect ancestral lands and ways of life from destruction are finally being recognised as playing an important role in defending precious environments.

Text size:

"In the face of climatic, economic and health catastrophes, reality forces the recognition of indigenous peoples' knowledge, and a new relationship of respect," said Gregorio Mirabal, head of the COICA indigenous organisation.

"Now we are not victims, we are the solution!"

That message was reinforced in a sweeping report by UN climate experts on the impacts and adaptation to global warming, released on Monday, that outlined in harrowing detail the challenges facing humanity and the planet they depend upon for survival.

It highlights that many indigenous peoples are on the frontlines of global warming, such as those in the Arctic whose communities and traditions are threatened by melting sea ice and rising waters.

But it also underscores what these communities and their intimate knowledge of nature -- transmitted from generation to generation -- can bring to the fight against climate change, in particular to limiting its impacts.

That is crucial since indigenous communities, who number less than half a billion people worldwide, steward land home to 80 percent of Earth's remaining biodiversity, notes the IPCC.

From the Amazon to Siberia, these communities have been forced to develop methods of coping with external challenges "for centuries and have developed strategies for resilience in changing environments that can enrich and strengthen other adaptation efforts", it said.

A major cause of their vulnerability acknowledged for the first time by the IPCC in this report is colonialism.

"I think it's a huge advancement," said Sherilee Harper, of the University of Alberta, Canada, adding that this is a crucial context that helps not only understand the problems facing indigenous groups, but also to frame solutions.

Harper was among the authors of the IPCC report, which also included indigenous contributors and peer reviewers for the first time.

Previously, she told AFP, "there was a tendency to paint them as victims of climate change" without the agency to act.

"Of course, that is not true."

- 'Arrogance' -

Indigenous groups have welcomed the IPCC's recognition of ancestral knowledge, but say the situation requires more than words.

"We need to come up with some kind of action-oriented strategy," said Rodion Sulyandziga, of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change.

"We need to combine all our efforts. We can bring to the table indigenous knowledge not just on prevention, but on new technology too."

Crucially, leveraging traditional knowledge for adapting to climate change depends on restoring rights to ancestral lands, said Sulyandziga, who represents the Indigenous Udege People of Russia -- Udege means "forest people".

"Without our land, we cannot adapt," he said.

IPCC scientists also stress the importance of "self-determination" and recognising indigenous rights.

Chapter after chapter, region after region, the thousands of pages of the report give multiple examples of adaptation practices that could serve as inspiration for the climate threats that scientists warn are already starting to have a severe impact across the world.

Take wildfires. Indigenous communities know how to fight fire with fire, burning certain plots at specific times of the year to prevent blazes from getting out of control later.

IPCC experts also mention the attention paid to the diversification of crops, like in the agroforestry system of the Kichwas of Ecuador who grow food crops and medicinal plants under the canopy of the Amazon rainforest.

Or even the use of traditional knowledge in Fiji to identify endemic plant species that can help limit coastal erosion.

Harper said everyone can benefit from learning this wisdom, once people -- especially in the West -- set aside their "arrogance".

"We have understood for thousands of years when there is balance and imbalance; it is our home and we recognise the limits," said COICA's Mirabal.

"Our bond with mother nature allows us to take care of what really matters -- water, earth, life."

But the IPCC warned that given the scale of climate change impacts, there are hard limits to adaptation.

While some communities may have to leave their homes, others have seen climate change fundamentally alter the land around them such that what was once familiar becomes strange.

Like the Inuit communities in and around the Arctic, where warming is faster than almost anywhere on Earth and the once-dependable snow and sea ice are now fragile and fleeting.

Ashlee Cunsolo, another author of the IPCC report, said colonialist regimes inflicted terrible injuries over generations -- from the erosion of language and culture to forced relocation.

People said they had "finally entered into this period of indigenous self-determination," said Cunsolo. They were "reclaiming culture" and lands.

"And then climate change comes in."

L.Coleman--TFWP