Living closer to the land and sea, Indigenous peoples are hit hard by dramatic changes in climate. Their ancient practices and wisdom, however, are crucial in mitigating the impacts of climate change.
What is it?
Indigenous peoples and local communities have participated very little in the global dialogue around the causes and consequences of climate change and in the formulation of strategies to address them. Many of these communities, however, are ‘expert witnesses’ with regard to the impacts of climate change, and their knowledge of biological and agricultural systems offers important insight into how landscapes adapt to dramatic change.
Why is it important?
Humans have persevered through climatic cycles in the past thanks to their ability to adapt; their skill to domesticate and co-evolve with plant and animal species; and their nurturing of agrobiodiversity.
An important defense against the shocks brought on by a changing climate is the maintenance of biocultural diversity, and the Indigenous and local stewards of that diversity need to play a significant role in humanity’s response to the current climate crisis. In order to do so, Indigenous representation must be secured in global and national climate policy debates, and native communities must be recognized and consulted as experts in climate monitoring and management processes.
How is The Christensen Fund involved?
We are working to ensure that the international discourse on climate change mitigation and adaptation includes the needs, wishes, knowledge and advice of Indigenous peoples and local communities. Through our Global Program, we are supporting the development of practical tools rooted in Indigenous knowledge and wisdom to assess the impacts of climate change on local communities and landscapes; and we support Indigenous participation and representation in climate change fora in our regions and around the world. (See the Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative.)