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Trouble Trees

Indigenous peoples don’t only suffer from the effects of climate change; in some cases they suffer from the solutions to climate change. The fruits of the oil palm. Photo by Eric WakkerT he most logical approach to stopping carbon dioxide emissions is for countries, especially industrialized countries, to reduce their fossil fuel consumption and cut back on emissions drastically. But…

Inundation

Many news stories have sent up alerts about the imminent drowning of Pacific islands. But for people living on Kiribati the real problems are happening right now. Teramira wraps dried pandanus leaves into large rolls. I-Kiribati women use these leaves to weave a variety of household products, such as mats, curtains, and traditional clothing.Uriam reclined comfortably on his bwia and eyed his…

Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change

Just five years ago, governments, pundits, and the general public were talking about climate change—to the extent they were talking about it at all—as a vague issue that was open to question. Today it is not just accepted as a fact; it is seen as a crisis. But indigenous peoples have known for decades that climate change is happening, and they know better than most exactly what it means. …

Of Ice and Men

In most quarters, the US government decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species was heralded as a milestone in awareness of global warming, but the people you might expect to most rejoice in the decision—the Arctic indigenous peoples who suffer the greatest effects of global warming—are strongly opposed to it. Polar Bear: A polar bear outside Barrow, Alaska. Photo by Gary…

Guardians

Indigenous peoples have been largely excluded from discussions about climate change, but in many ways they hold the key to the problem. Bhola Island in Bangladesh is rapidly shrinking as the water rises around it. Photo by Gary Braasch I n living off the land and gaining knowledge through their relationship with the land, indigenous peoples have been observing the effects of global…