Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Indigenous people can show us how to adapt to climate change
Thin Lei Win in AlertNet: Indigenous communities around the world are highly vulnerable to climate change but instead of seeing them as victims, policy-makers should tap into their centuries-old knowledge of adapting to extreme weather patterns, aid workers say.
In Iran, which has some 700 nomadic tribes, pastoralists have been successfully adapting to climate fluctuations for 12,000 years, development expert Catherine Razavi told an international conference on climate change.
In recent years they have adjusted their migration patterns and switched to more drought resistant strains of livestock, said Razavi who is executive director of Iran’s Center for Sustainable Development (CENESTA).
In central Iran, where much pastureland has been destroyed by drought, she said pastoralists were now planting drought tolerant crops on previous grazing land. These crops include pistachios and fodder barley which can be used to feed livestock. The story of Iran’s nomads was highlighted during the sixth International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change, hosted in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
Indigenous communities are vulnerable to climate change partly because they are marginalised and poor and have little access to information and services. But far from watching passively as their ancestral lands and traditions are threatened by climate-related hazards, many such communities are actively adapting to new conditions, the conference heard....