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Local Knowledge as a Model of Climate Change Mitigation

The Inuit Circumpolar Council - Alaska (ICC-AK) recently released a report that strongly tied the protection of traditional aspects of culture to the protection of the natural environment. In its latest study on food security, the report indicates that environmental conservation and protection may successfully be done through the adherence to indigenous knowledge. This may very well be an interesting conclusion because it offers yet another suggestion to address our mounting ecological crises; especially one problem Arctic peoples are beginning to understand all too well: climate change.

Indigenous knowledge systems are ways of interacting with the local environment that is uniquely fitted to a specific culture or community. These knowledge systems emphasize local understandings that maintain and protect ways of living. Understanding and engaging in these local knowledge may be an important aspect of sustainability, which is a way of behaving indefinitely. To do this, community members develop ways of thinking and existing that protect the natural environment because it also means protecting oneself. For the Inuit, and other members of Native communities across the world, ecological systems include humans intricately. This stands in contrast to the Euro-centric placement of humans in the environment since the Industrial Revolution.

Guy Mayer

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