Indigenous people on climate change: UNU’s traditional Knowledge Initiative

January 31st, 2011 by

In recent years, indigenous peoples have been recognised as powerful knowledge holders on climate change and key actors for developing policy to mitigate and cope with its effects. Observations of ecosystem change by indigenous peoples are acting as a sentinel like warning system for climate change. More importantly, the long-term place-based adaptation approaches developed by indigenous peoples provide valuable examples for the global community of low-carbon sustainable lifestyle, critical to developing local adaptations strategies in the face of climate instability.

From the United Nations (UN) University’s Traditional Knowledge Initiative, a compendium of more than 400 case studies has been written to address how indigenous peoples have been affected by and are adapting to climate change. The report recommends that Western scientists draw on the knowledge and experience ofiIndigenous peoples when creating climate change policy. It provides a survey of current effects of and adaptive responses to climate and environmental changes, including various adaptation and mitigation strategies that are currently being implemented by indigenous peoples as they use their traditional knowledge and survival skills to trial adaptive responses to change.

As a complement to the compendium, the UNU’s “Indigenous Voices on Climate Change” online film festival, showcases a sharable playlist of over 22 climate story films made from within various traditional homelands.

Click here to download the 124-page compendium in PDF format

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