Climate change is one of the most important ecological and social crises that humanity is facing and indigenous people are on the frontlines of the issue. There are indigenous people all over the world and each with their own unique culture and characteristics but one thing that many share is their respect for the Earth and reliance on it for their livelihoods. What happens when the Earth they know no longer responds the same way it had “always”? How does climate change affect indigenous people? The Earth is influenced and shaped by climate and climate is influenced by Earth and all its inhabitants. This means that living organisms (humans, insects, bees, bears, cows, etc.) have some impact on climate and thus the Earth. Humans have significantly contributed to climate change due to their activities that manipulate Earth (agriculture, road development, mining, burning fossil fuels, etc.) in order to meet human needs and wants. Greenhouse gases (GHG) are released in significant quantities due to human activities and contribute to climate change.
This research paper begins by introducing the concept of climate change and some factors that contribute to it. I then discuss some ways that climate change impacts the health and well-being of indigenous people. Before concluding, I briefly discuss potential solutions to combat climate change from an indigenous perspective and the importance of collaborating with indigenous communities. Indigenous people have a wealth of traditional ecological knowledge that is unique to them and aids them in their efforts to adapt to changing weather patterns and the associated consequences of climate change.
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Rose Poton (she/her) is a compassionate and creative Conflict and Dispute Resolution professional that enjoys working on issues involving the health and well-being of all people and environments while applying a community-centered and environmental justice lens.