Friday, July 20, 2012

NOAA, partners meet to explore climate change and coastal tribes

NOAA: How climate change affects U.S. indigenous coastal cultures is the focus of the First Stewards symposium starting today at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The coastal treaty tribes of Washington state – the Hoh, Makah, Quileute tribes and the Quinault Indian Nation – are hosting the event and collaborating with NOAA and other partners.

Native leaders, including American Indians, Alaska Natives and Pacific Islanders, will join climate scientists, policy-makers, and representatives of non-government organizations to discuss ways indigenous peoples and cultures may be able to increase their ability to adapt to predicted climate change. Participants also will discuss how to include indigenous traditional knowledge in U.S. climate change science, education, and governance.

“Coastal indigenous people have thousands of years of rich, place-based knowledge of climate change and its effects on humans, and how to adjust to these changes,” said Daniel J. Basta, director, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “Their experience is extremely valuable today and can help all of us as the world looks for ways to adapt.”

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries manages a national system of marine protected areas where local indigenous communities participate in management of marine resources.

“We need everyone engaged in working on adaptations, mitigation, strategies, and solutions to climate change,” said Micah McCarty, chairman of the Makah and of the First Stewards organizing committee. “Even the polar bears and people of the Arctic Circle cannot escape the second-hand smoke of the vehicle tailpipe and the smokestack that leave such a large carbon footprint.”...

A Makah mask, shot by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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