We have the knowledge that can contribute to finding solutions to the crisis of climate change. But if you’re not prepared to listen, how can we communicate this to you?
— Marcos Terena, Xané leader, Brazil.
“Indigenous peoples, however, are not mere victims of climate change. Comprising only four per cent of the world’s population (between 250 to 300 million people), they utilize 22 per cent of the world’s land surface. In doing so, they maintain 80% of the planet’s biodiversity in, or adjacent to, 85% of the world’s protected areas. Indigenous lands also hold hundreds of gigatons of carbon — a recognition that is gradually dawning on industrialized countries that seek to secure significant carbon stocks in an effort to mitigate climate change.
“Indigenous peoples are excellent observers and interpreters of change on the land, sea, and sky. Their community-based and collectively held traditional knowledge accumulated and maintained through practice over countless generations, offers valuable insights into the state of the environment. Indigenous knowledge possesses chronological and landscape-specific precision and detail that is often lacking from scientific models developed by scientists at much broader spatial and temporal scale, including those used to understand the magnitude of climate change consequences. Moreover, indigenous knowledge provides a crucial foundation for community-based adaptation and mitigation actions that can sustain resilience of social-ecological systems at the interdependent local, regional, and global scales.”
Gleb Raygorodetsky, “The Key to Addressing Climate Change — Indigenous Knowledge“, National Geographic.