BookPDF Available

Weathering Uncertainty: Traditional Knowledge for Climate Change Assessment and Adaptation

Authors:
  • BioChimera Pty Ltd

Abstract

When considering climate change, indigenous peoples and marginalized populations warrant particular attention. Impacts on their territories and communities are anticipated to be both early and severe due to their location in vulnerable environments, including small islands, high-altitude zones, desert margins and the circumpolar Arctic. Indeed, climate change poses a direct threat to many indigenous societies due to their continuing reliance upon resource-based livelihoods. Heightened exposure to negative impacts, however, is not the only reason for specific attention and concern. As many indigenous societies are socially and culturally distinct from mainstream society, decisions, policies and actions undertaken by the majority, even if well-intended, may prove inadequate, ill-adapted, and even inappropriate. There is therefore a need understand the specific vulnerabilities, concerns, adaptation capacities and longer-term aspirations of indigenous peoples and marginalized communities throughout the world. Indigenous and traditional knowledge contribute to this broader understanding. Indigenous and rural peoples, however, are not only potential victims of global climate change. Attentiveness to environmental variability, shifts and trends is an integral part of their ways of life. Community-based and local knowledge may offer valuable insights into environmental change due to climate change, and complement broader-scale scientific research with local precision and nuance. Indigenous societies have elaborated coping strategies to deal with unstable environments, and in some cases, are already actively adapting to early climate change impacts. While the transformations due to climate change are expected to be unprecedented, indigenous knowledge and coping strategies provide a crucial foundation for community-based adaptation measures. This publication reviews the rapidly growing scientific literature on the contributions of indigenous and traditional knowledge to understanding climate change vulnerability, resilience and adaptation.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... Such an integration is vital, not only for purposes of utility, but for equity. Within the current climate framework, dominated as it is by western science, local knowledge of the natural environment held by indigenous nationalities is largely omitted; insights and observations of indigenous knowledge systems have traditionally been excluded from scientific sources due to peer-review requirements (Alexander et al., 2011;Nakashima et al., 2012). ...
... Its inadequacy is a result of its exclusion of knowledge that is not considered ecological. These issues with TEK have not gone unnoticed; a plethora of other terms have been used in both academic and non-academic literature, including: IK systems, traditional knowledge, indigenous local knowledge, local knowledge, IK of the environment, farmers' knowledge, folk knowledge, aboriginal knowledge, indigenous science, and native science (Berkes, 2012;Nakashima et al., 2012;Whyte, 2015). ...
... The focus lies on security measures against natural hazards, with a strong emphasis on avalanches. Adaptation is understood as technological interventions and the bolstering of infrastructure in response to specific risks, whereas research often highlights the role of traditional ecological knowledge and skills as crucial for adaptation (Nakashima, Galloway McLean, Thulstrup, Ramos Castillo, & Rubis, 2012); in Longyearbyen formal, Western scientific knowledge and expertise are considered the key to dealing with the impacts of climate change. Problems are to be solved by technological solutions exerted by experts in the sense of holders of formal knowledge and skills, informed by a broad scientific knowledge base. ...
... There is thus strong adaptive capacity in Longyearbyen regarding a specific form of adaptation: planned, rational, knowledge-based adaptation in the form of technical solutions to physical problems. As priority is given to scientific knowledge and experts, informal knowledge and skillswhich are crucial for adaptation (Nakashima et al., 2012) are often not considered. Notwithstanding the high turnover, there are individuals that have been living for a long time in Longyearbyen and have an environmental memory spanning back in time, as an architect emphasised: "Gamlekara [long-term residents] sit on a lot of valuable knowledge. ...
Article
Full-text available
Longyearbyen, Svalbard, has become showcase of Arctic climate change. However, we know little about how these changes are dealt with locally. This article aims to fill this gap by examining climate change impacts and adaptation in a non-Indigenous “community of experts” and sets out to 1) describe observed changes and perceived societal impacts of climate change and 2) discuss adaptation measures and related understandings of adaptation. The research consists of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with planners, engineers, architects, scientists, construction workers and local politicians. The research finds that climate change impacts the built environment in Longyearbyen, and that there is vast awareness of and concern related to these impacts. There is a substantial knowledge base for adaptation, and a special trust in scientific knowledge, skills and experts. The interview partners consider adaptation as necessary and feasible. Adaptation is understood and implemented as technical responses to physical problems, rooted in a modernist understanding of the environment as separated from humans, who can control it through technical means. This suggests a narrow understanding of adaptation that might fail to address more socially transformative processes.
... Some examples of TEK are historical, such as the ancient practice of creating forest islands to increase fruit production and attract game (Gadgil et al., 1993;Whyte, 2013), while others are traditions still practiced today, such as deer cleaning (Reo and Whyte, 2012;Whyte, 2013) or caribou hunting techniques (Barnhardt and Kawagley, 2005) that incorporate community values. Many examples of TEK (e.g., burning practices; observations of fluctuations in water levels, sea ice, and lake processes; and the movements of animal populations) have practical applications in natural resource management and climate change research (Kimmerer and Lake, 2001;Eisner et al., 2009;Voggesser, 2010a,b;Wildcat, 2009;Nakashima et al., 2012;Whyte, 2013). ...
Article
Indigenous students are underrepresented in science, and the exclusion of Indigenous knowledge from Western education may be a contributor. Recently, Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers have called for a better integration of Indigenous knowledge systems into Western science. One suggestion from the literature is to integrate Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), or the diverse intimate knowledges and practices that relate to the environment that are commonly held by Indigenous peoples around the world, into our classrooms. However, this approach can be daunting and unfamiliar for undergraduate biology instructors, and they may be hesitant to attempt to include TEK in their classrooms. In this essay, we summarize practical suggestions and caution from the literature on how to include TEK in biology courses for instructors who are interested in increasing Indigenous student belonging using this approach. Suggestions include exploring other ways of knowing, teaching holistically, establishing a classroom culture of respect, explicitly including TEK, consulting Indigenous experts, incorporating Indigenous languages, and using other evidence-based teaching practices. Implementing these practices in biology classrooms may be messy, but engaging in this difficult process is important as we strive for more inclusivity in biology education. We end the essay with suggestions for future research.
... Locally, there is little interaction and support by IPCC focal points to promote learning-oriented methodologies, familiarity with the language and experience to address the IPCC process, hampering regional/local participation. Although the recognition and use of ILK is expanding in peer-reviewed research (Savo et al., 2016;Abram et al., 2019) thus providing information and responses to guide and inform policy with different perspectives (Huntington, 2011;Nakashima et al., 2012;Lavrillier and Gabyshev, 2018), most global assessments have not yet incorporated ILK information (Obermeister, 2017) thus limiting the potential of local adaptation response (Ford et al., 2016). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Science diplomacy, the interlinkage between research and foreign affairs, is a recent field of research, albeit being claimed to be an ancient practice in international relations. Science diplomacy practices generally include the influence of scientific advice during international negotiations, the bridging of communities (or even conflicting nations) through joint research projects and the promotion of science by diplomatic channels, just to name a few. Largely identified today by mainstream intergovernmental policy-makers as a beneficial practice, science diplomacy is promoted as being rooted in the universality and cooperative nature of science and as a means for peaceful and uncontested international interactions. However, research on the processes underlying the adoption of science diplomacy practices is evaluating how the different imperatives of science and of diplomacy clash in values and expected outcomes. Thus, this study is aimed at exploring and understanding the importance of science diplomacy to ocean affairs, specifically looking at the power play between science and diplomacy in the Atlantic Ocean, utilizing the All- Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance as a case. This study reflects a stepwise process in unveiling the importance of science diplomacy in ocean governance. The first step was to review the current state-ofthe- art on science diplomacy, its practices and scholarship. Second, analyze how science diplomacy is active in ocean affairs, departing from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and related instruments. Finally, use the All- Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance as a case in time to search for science diplomacy practices. In this journey, the collection of perceptions from researchers and government officials about science diplomacy informed me on the need to address issues of power, capabilities and South-North relationships in the Atlantic. My ultimate goal was to identify how and why the Atlantic community of practice gives meaning to the use and practices of ocean science diplomacy. To this end, I interviewed both researchers and government officials from the South and North Atlantic involved in the negotiation and implementation of the Alliance. Through a thematic analysis I identified the values perceived by scientists and government officials with regard to ocean science diplomacy, in particular in the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. My results indicate that most practitioners were and remain unfamiliar with the available concepts of science diplomacy. There is, however, a common perception of it being positive, relevant and influential to international ocean negotiations. This benevolent perception of ocean science diplomacy in the Atlantic Ocean is further contrasted with different expectations coming from the South and North Atlantic, as well as different perspectives revealed by researchers and government officials. 12 By applying the theoretical framework of postcolonialism and decolonial thought, I discuss how different meanings of ocean science diplomacy between functional roles (scientists and officials) and regions (South and North Atlantic) cause distinct motivations in engagement. As a result, I advocate that ocean science diplomacy in the Atlantic will only be a driver to unite communities around shared goals and values if common interests are negotiated and achieved, recognizant of the colonial past that shapes our understanding of ocean science diplomacy.
Chapter
Indigenous knowledge (IK) is facts, information, and skills owned by the local communities around the globe. This knowledge evolved overtime from daily experience and modified to the local culture and environment. The aim of this chapter is to advance the position that IK present crucial opportunity for smallholder farmers in Tanzania to adapt with climate change impacts. In African context, the history of knowledge production did not start with the coming of western people and the future of IK should not depend exclusively on Western Knowledge and other worldviews. The African societies like many other traditional societies globally have established their own sets of experiences and explanations concerning the surrounding environment they live in. The chapter fundamentally strives to document key adaptation practices entrenched into the social-cultural contexts of the Haya people, which are deemed useful in dealing with climate change impacts.
Article
Volume I of The Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean provides a wide-ranging survey of Pacific history to 1800. It focuses on varied concepts of the Pacific environment and its impact on human history, as well as tracing the early exploration and colonization of the Pacific, the evolution of Indigenous maritime cultures after colonization, and the disruptive arrival of Europeans. Bringing together a diversity of subjects and viewpoints, this volume introduces a broad variety of topics, engaging fully with emerging environmental and political conflicts over Pacific Ocean spaces. These essays emphasize the impact of the deep history of interactions on and across the Pacific to the present day.
Article
Confronted with the complex environmental crises of the Anthropocene, scientists have moved towards an interdisciplinary approach to address challenges that are both social and ecological. Several arenas are now calling for co-production of new transdisciplinary knowledge by combining Indigenous knowledge and science. This book revisits epistemological debates on the notion of co-production and assesses the relevant methods, principles and values that enable communities to co-produce. It explores the factors that determine how indigenous-scientific knowledge can be rooted in equity, mutual respect and shared benefits. Resilience through Knowledge Co-Production includes several collective papers co-authored by Indigenous experts and scientists, with case studies involving Indigenous communities from the Arctic, Pacific islands, the Amazon, the Sahel and high altitude areas. Offering guidance to indigenous peoples, scientists, decision-makers and NGOs, this book moves towards a decolonised co-production of knowledge that unites indigenous knowledge and science to address global environmental crises.
Thesis
Full-text available
Attaining sustainable resource management encompasses multilevel challenges and interdisciplinary approaches from grassroots efforts to international agreements. In the context of coastal and marine management, the complexities represented by the variety of local entities, regimes, and institutional supports are captured as current challenges in sustainability efforts. Such challenges, unfortunately, persist in the group of customary communities such as those of the Bajau, who live in coastal and marine areas. In an effort to address the aforementioned challenges, this research proposes a model for integrating the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of the Bajau into Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) scheme in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi. A qualitative approach involving multi-sited ethnography and interviews was employed in this study. TEK as a concept is drawn upon to strengthen the local practices for sustainable resource use and therefore develop policy recommendations. However, in the case of Bajau communities, the dimensions of the TEK encompass conservation practices, ethno-fisheries, cultural beliefs, customary laws, weather and cultural astronomy, and adaptive management. The manifestation of the TEK needs to add the term 'exchange knowledge' due to the history and nature of former nomadic groups that interacted and exchanged knowledge and goods with other groups with whom they were in contact. Intercultural relations between the Bajau and dominant customary groups in Wakatobi position the Bajau as migrants and second-class people, both socio-culturally and in the context of various conservation activities. The co-management programs that involve the Bajau do not seem to consider the basic needs and practices of this group in current sustainable resource management. This situation indirectly contributes to the marginalization and growing development threats for the Bajau in Wakatobi. In addition, the complexities in the realm of contemporary Bajau society are not adequately considered in Wakatobi's development priority programs. The culturally inclusive projects and LMMA model do not engage Bajau communities, even though this group is pivotal in nurturing marine ecology in alignment with multiple TEK practices and a maritime culture orientation. In brief, the output model of this research examines the various terms to disentangle the challenges in cultural identity, intellectual property and rights, capacity building, livelihood diversification, and communal space in the Bajau communities in Wakatobi. In advance of making recommendations to implement the model, this research explored key attributes related to Bajau customary institutions, local government, and Wakatobi National Park.
Article
Climate change has become the largest threat to cultural heritage in the twenty-first century. While it is known that the world’s most vulnerable populations, including Indigenous peoples, will disproportionately face the effects of climate change, there is less knowledge of the wider cultural frameworks that influence Indigenous understandings of climate change. This article seeks to understand the local perceptions of natural and anthropogenic climate change and its impact on heritage among contemporary indigenous or originario peoples in small oases in the Atacama Desert of Chile’s Tarapacá region. Theories from critical heritage studies are used to explore the impacts of both anthropogenic and natural climate change on what is understood as Indigenous heritage. The authors examine how these changes have intersected with national and regional socio-political events in the past century to impact contemporary Indigenous identities in the communities of Pica and Matilla. Semi-structured interviews and oral histories were discontinuously conducted between March 2016 and April 2018 and included lay Aymara and Quechua community members as well as the representatives of local organizations such as Neighbour Councils and Indigenous Development Areas (ADIs) in the communities. These accounts illustrate how recent climate change is being used as a rhetorical device to facilitate the revitalization and regeneration of local ethnicities in northern Chile today. Furthermore, the article demonstrates the value of originario knowledge in understanding the nuances of local cultural context and how essential it is in the implementation of environmental and heritage policies in the wider Chilean context.