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Combatting Climate Change by Involving Indigenous Communities

Climate change combat is often in the hands of policy-makers, researchers and governments. However it is the marginalised and indigenous communities that feel the full force of climate change effects. To be effective the campaign needs to include the wisdom and traditional practices of these communities to better protect those who need it the most.

In celebration of Earth Day, delegates to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed the agreement adopted at the 2015 COP21 meeting in Paris to ratify commitments to reduce carbon emissions and the effects of climate change. Climate change is a phrase tossed about by policy-makers, diplomats and business researchers the world over. But those who face the brunt of its force are not the ones making the decisions or advising policy.

The people most threatened by the loss of their homes to rising seas; loss of farmlands to saltwater flooding; loss of fisheries resources to rising ocean temperatures; and loss of their lives to extreme weather events are usually indigenous coastal communities. These people do not wear the lab coats and suits of those who influence policy and rarely have a say in national or international decision-making.

Ryan Schmaltz

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