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Indigenous peoples at world summit to share climate change observations, coping techniques
Date:4/19/2009

such trends as accelerating natural resource development stimulated by trade liberalization and globalization."

Says Sam Johnston of Tokyo-based United Nations University, a Summit co-sponsor: "The rich and detailed insights of Indigenous Peoples reflects and embodies a cultural and spiritual relationship with the land, ocean and wildlife. The world owes it to both the Indigenous Peoples and itself to pay greater heed to the opinions of these communities and to the wisdom of ages-old traditional knowledge."

At least 5,000 distinct groups of Indigenous Peoples have been identified in more than 70 countries, with a combined global population estimated at 300-350 million, representing about 6% of humanity.

Their traditional knowledge contributes to understanding climate change observations and interpretations by Indigenous Peoples of changing Arctic sea ice, for example, has proven important across a wide range of economic and scientific interests. Traditional knowledge of fire, meanwhile, is helping to create more effective strategies for year round forest management and reducing the risk of killer wild fires.

Interestingly, in a world first, the aborigines of Western Arnhem Land have used traditional fire practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, they have sold $17 million worth of carbon credits to industry, generating significant new income for the local community.

Over millennia, Indigenous Peoples have developed a large arsenal of practices of potential benefit in the climate change context, including:

  • Traditional methods of shoreline reinforcement, land stabilization and reclamation;
  • Protecting watersheds with Indigenous farming techniques; and
  • Fostering biodiversity and the growth of useful species through planting, transplantation, and weeding techniques, the benefits of which have often gone unappreciated outside Indigenous communities until traditional peoples
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
United Nations University
Source:Eurekalert

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