Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Indigenous reality behind climate change

Published: September 15, 2007, Author: MHirch

Experts agree, climate change may be the greatest threat facing our planet. No doubt, for all of human kind climate change is a threat to biodiversity, and involves a number of potential challenges for public health.
To indigenous peoples climate change is equivalent to environmental and cultural genocide. Environmental issues are not just about the environment for indigenous peoples. They are very much about the physical health and wellbeing as well as about cultural survival. Fighting global warming means defending indigenous rights to health, culture and own means of subsistence.
Several Inuit communities, located in territories within the US, Canada, Greenland and Russia already are so damaged by global warming that relocation at the cost of millions of dollars seems now the only option. Thus their hunting and seafaring cultures get destroyed. They are condemned to suffer unbearable pain because of the loss of homeland and culture as well as health problems that are likely to ensue.

A discussion about the changing climate recently focussed on the question whether it were more politically correct to use the term climate change or global warming. A lot of energy goes into discussing these and like terms to describe phenomena rather than focus on the underlying realities behind the words that need immediate attention. For many of us who are not yet so severely affected by the effects of climate change these terms remain fairly abstract, unless we for ourselves decide to look more deeply into undeniable facts. Everyone of us can contribute to guarantee this world to be a precious place to live.
Isn’t it high time to take more seriously what we know and simply act?

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Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

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