By Bianca Pasca
Following our event on ‘Race Empire and Climate change’ which explained how the global north’s responsibility for and failure to respond sufficiently to the climate crisis constitutes a form of neo-colonialism, this week’s “What you need to know about…” post will focus on the impact of climate change on indigenous communities who are not mere victims but potential leaders in the fight against the climate crisis.
This article will explain:
2) How even climate change mitigation strategies harm indigenous communities
Biofuels- biofuels are less damaging than fossil fuels because they are carbon neutral, the CO2 released when they are burnt as fuel is balanced by the CO2 absorbed the tress before they are processed into fuel.
3) Why listening to indigenous communities can help tackle the climate crisis
Marginalisation of indigenous communities is of course a threat to their survival as their interests are not represented on the world stage. Yet it’s also detrimental to our collective efforts to tackle climate change as we could learn much from understanding the special relationship indigenous people have with the natural environment. Eg:
· Flooding - In Bangladesh, villagers are creating floating vegetable gardens to protect their livelihoods from flooding
· Tropical storms- in Vietnam, communities are helping to plant dense mangroves along the coast to diffuse tropical-storm waves.
· Droughts- In Guyana indigenous communities are relocating form the savannah to forest areas during floods and are planting their staple crop, cassava on moist flood plains where other crops are unable to survive.
Unfortunately, the example set by indigenous communities falls into oblivion because their traditional knowledge is largely oral and remains outside of academic forums, thereby remaining marginalized in literature such as the IPCC reports.
Human rights-Indigenous communities are also leading the way in making governments accountable for climate change by making a link between inaction and violation of human rights. For example, indigenous Australians from the Torres Strait islands are filing a complaint to the UN that identifies the Australian government’s failure to mitigate the impact of climate change as a violation of their human rights.
The UN’s ruling is non-binding but may succeed in pressuring the Australian government into action, proving that platforming indigenous people and the protection of their rights and interests is fundamentally linked to the fight against climate change.
OCS Media and Research Team
The latest in climate science and policy from the OCS team.