Signs of Trouble in Alaska...

In this time of wars, famines, disasters, inequalities, and other massive breakdowns of modern society, it can be difficult to make sense of the world and what is actually going on. In this vein, I came across a BBC article by Patricia Cochran, director of the Alaska Native Science Commission, that describes the challenges being faced on the front-lines of the war with global warming. Cochran speaks to the human and environmental challenges that have resulted from the increasing ferocity of coastal storms, with increased wave size, the fast eroding banks along Alaskan rivers, and other inter-related environmental changes that have apparently been accelerated due to global warming. Not surprisingly, these changes and challenges are being faced by communities that are largely comprised of indigenous peoples who once again are left to their own devices in attempts to survive their forced marginality. However, this is seen as a means for hope:

Alaska Native Elders say we must prepare to adapt. This is a simple instruction but it is not so easy to understand what it really means.
Adapting means more than adjusting hunting technologies and what kind of food we eat. It means re-learning how to garner information from a rapidly changing environment. Even science is recognising the value of ancestral knowledge passed on to later generations of natives.
There is a reason native people have been able to survive for centuries in the harshest of conditions, in the strangest of times; it is because of our resilience and our adaptability. And it is that strength from within that our communities now have to rely upon as we face an uncertain future.

It will be fitting and appropriate, as the world continues to deteriorate in so many ways, that the best chance for the survival of humanity lies with the knowledge systems of the planets traditional and indigenous peoples.
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1 comment:

  1. But what happens when that knowledge gets picked up and exploited by big business?


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