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Everything is Connected | Chapter 3: Ancient Woods

Like other indigenous First Nation communities throughout Canada, the Tla-o-qui-aht people are survivors. Over a century of cultural genocide, Christianisation, forced assimilation, land alienation and re-settlement reduced their numbers tenfold and pushed them to the brink of extinction. But despite environmental, social and cultural upheavals, the Tla-o-qui-aht are slowly but surely strengthening their ability to cope…

Everything is Connected | Chapter 2: Enchanted Echachist

Like other indigenous First Nation communities throughout Canada, the Tla-o-qui-aht people are survivors. Over a century of cultural genocide, Christianisation, forced assimilation, land alienation and re-settlement reduced their numbers tenfold and pushed them to the brink of extinction. But despite environmental, social and cultural upheavals, the Tla-o-qui-aht are slowly but surely strengthening their ability to cope…

Everything is Connected | Chapter 1: Survivors

Like other indigenous First Nation communities throughout Canada, the Tla-o-qui-aht people are survivors. Over a century of cultural genocide, Christianisation, forced assimilation, land alienation and re-settlement reduced their numbers tenfold and pushed them to the brink of extinction. But despite environmental, social and cultural upheavals, the Tla-o-qui-aht are finding creative holistic solutions and restoring their…

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK): An Interview With Dr. Michael Hutchins

The following interview is my 12th in a series with my esteemed colleague Dr. Michael Hutchins. Michael recently joined the American Bird Conservancy, as the organization’s National Bird Smart Wind Campaign Coordinator. The distinguished ecologist has agreed to answer my questions about indigenous knowledge and the impact of such informational resources on the management of…

Of Kangaroos and Caribou

At first glance, Australia and Canada could not be more different. Separated by more than 7,500 miles (12,000 km), one country known for its hot, dry lands and kangaroos and the other for its cold, wet forests and caribou. But at a symposium at the International Congress for Conservation Biology last July, which I co-chaired…

World Heritage and Climate Change: Lessons From Indigenous Peoples of Altai, Russia

Shaman Maria Amanchina stands over the tomb of the Ukok Princess Kadyn. Photo © Gleb Raygorodetsky. The sacred Ukok Plateau at the heart of the Golden Mountains of Altai World Heritage Site, Russia, is changing because of climate. For local people, dealing with climate change means restoring and sustaining the role of the ancestral burial kurgans…

Changing With the Land: The Skolt Sámi’s Path to Climate Change Resilience

This photo essay offers a glimpse of the challenges that climate change presents for indigenous and local communities in northern Europe. An Arctic people of northern Finland whose livelihoods depend largely on their environment, the Skolt Sámi are searching for ways to remain resilient in the face of climate change. _____________________________________________________________________________ The land around Rautujärvi…

Pulsating Heart of Nature: How to Ensure Our Collective Bioculturally Resilient Future

  The remarkable variety of life’s interdependent phenomena and processes — what we call ‘diversity’ — is being eroded by the modern forces of homogenization. The rich tapestry — woven from a countless multitude of mutually reinforcing strands of biological, cultural and linguistic relationships — is wearing out. Our increasingly fatigued world is losing its…

Blockade by Earth’s Most Threatened Tribe Paralyzes Brazilian Railway

ON the forested western edge of Maranhao state in north-east Brazil lives the Awá tribe. One of only two nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes left in Brazil, the Awa have long lived in this area, which lies between the equatorial forests of Amazonia and the drier savannas to the east.  They are the most threatened tribe in…

Fresh powder!

For decades ski resorts around the world have used snowmaking equipment to supplement nature’s sometimes erratic bounty. But a resort in the western U.S. will this season arm its snow cannons with a controversial form of ammo: sewage effluent purchased from a local municipality. Needless to say, the plan has its detractors.  

Do REDD Trees Make Forest Green?

Deforestation, especially of tropical forests, makes up 18 percent of annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — more emissions than the entire global transportation sector. The 2007 Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasized that reducing deforestation would be the most significant and immediate way to begin reducing global levels of…

“English Goes in One Ear and Out Another”: An Endangered Language Perspective

“Literacy makes you lazy: we don’t memorize 10,000-line epic poems any more,” David Harrison, the director of research for the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, told an audience at the Aspen Environment Forum in Colorado this past weekend. “I don’t even memorize cell phone numbers any more,” said Harrison, a linguist who studies many…

Eliminate GDP and “Economic Growth” to Create the Real Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples Say

The planet is in peril, 3,000 scientists and other experts concluded at the recent Planet Under Pressure conference in London. Climate change, overuse of nitrogen and loss of biodiversity are just three of the perils threatening to make much of our home uninhabitable. World leaders will meet in Rio de Janeiro June 20-22 to address…

Traditional Slash and Burn Agriculture Sustainable Solution to Climate Change

Climate change is the result of not behaving in the right way, according to the isolated Trio, an indigenous people living in Suriname’s Amazon forest near its border with Brazil. “They see climate change as big problem. They say their forests are changing, deteriorating,” said Gwendolyn Smith, a project director for the non-profit organization Amazon Conservation…

Indigenous Peoples Can Show the Path to Low-Carbon Living If Their Land Rights Are Recognized

  Many indigenous peoples are living examples of societies thriving with sustainable, low-carbon lifestyles. Successfully meeting the global climate change challenge requires that much of the world shift from high carbon-living to low. This shift is daunting. Current emissions for Australia and the United States average about 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person. In…