What is the role of Indigenous people in the fight against climate change?

Recently, I came across an interesting article entitled, “The Key role of indigenous people in global climate change efforts”. This article discusses the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) climate talks that took place in December in Poland. At this conference there was a resolution introduces that created a Local Communities and Indigenous Platform that would involve a working group of 14 people in which half of the members would be from indigenous communities.  The motivation behind this recommendation is that the “traditional knowledge systems of indigenous peoples are going to contribute the solutions of climate change” (Green). I thought this article was interesting in that it talks very little about climate change but mostly speaks about indigenous rights to self-determination and the fragility of their ecosystems which support their livelihoods. For me this makes two interesting points. Firstly, the association of indigenous peoples with environmentalism and sustainable practices is so strong that describing other aspects we associate with indigeneity such as self-determination is enough to conjure images of natural conservation. Secondly, climate change like many other global problems will disproportionately impact populations whose position is already jeopardized due to inequality and racism. For indigenous peoples in many places around the world, their rights as outlines by international articles are rarely practiced in reality. This violation of the rights of indigenous often times takes the form of land rights violations. Due to the nature of indigenous grievances and disparities they also seem to be obvious candidates for discussions on mitigating climate change.  I think this article speaks to many topics we have discussed in class namely: our discussions about the book “The Ecological Indian”, and discussions about the accountability and governance of resources and environmental impact.

Written by: AH


Green, Andrew. “Q&A: The Key Role of Indigenous People in Global Climate Change Efforts.” Safety & Security Manager | Devex, DEVEX, 11 Dec. 2018, www.devex.com

Author: GEN