Human rights activists call for inclusive climate research
Indigenous peoples are the first victims of climate change (Press Release)
From the viewpoint of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), indigenous peoples must have more say in matters of climate research. "Research programs on climate change need to be more inclusive, and knowledge of indigenous peoples has to be considered as well. They have been experiencing the consequences of climate change for years," explained Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Friday. The human rights organization called for a rethinking of funding for research projects, emphasizing that inclusive research programs only had a chance if the sponsors were to demand the involvement of representatives of indigenous communities. Many researchers aim to help the victims of climate change with their research, but it is necessary that the project sponsors acknowledge this important goal as well.
The human rights organization recalled that there are already exemplary climate change research projects in New Zealand that also consider the knowledge of indigenous peoples. For example, the "Vision Matauranga" program, funded by leading New Zealand foundations, involves the indigenous Maori people. Their traditional knowledge serves as a basis to work out concepts on how the people could adapt their way of life to the effects of climate change. In the course of an international symposium of young polar researchers in California in May 2019, researchers from Europe, the United States, and Japan announced plans to consult indigenous representatives in the scope of their climate research programs and to take their knowledge into account.
All over the world, it is especially the indigenous peoples who are affected by the consequences of climate change. "Whether in the Arctic and the Subarctic, in the rainforests of the Amazon, Central Africa and Southeast Asia, on the Pacific Islands or in the savannahs of Africa – indigenous peoples are often the first to suffer from the dramatic consequences of climate change," Delius stated. In West Africa, the scarcity of resources and grazing land is fueling armed conflicts between different ethnic groups. The indigenous peoples of Russia are threatened with extinction because President Vladimir Putin insists on exploiting the raw materials of Siberia by all available means – and the "run" on oil, natural gas, and minerals is destroying the livelihood of traditional reindeer herders.
Yesterday's arrest of an indigenous Yakut in Russia who wanted to walk from Siberia to Moscow to drive away "evil spirits" from President Putin may seem strange to many people in Western Europe, but the much-noted desperate act of the shaman Alexander Gabyshev is a call for help, showing just how catastrophic the situation of the indigenous peoples of Siberia is.
Header image: Ybelov via Wikimedia