New Federal Report: Climate Change Threatens Indigenous Communities

With climate change, fires will continue to become more frequent.

Published November 25, 2018

WASHINGTON  —  A new report, the National Climate Assessment, released on Black Friday projects a dire future for Mother Earth because of climate change. The report says the climate will disrupt the nation’s economy in every region in the future with cost estimates in the billions of dollars annually by 2050 and predicts thousands will die as the result of the change in the climate..

The 1,600-plus page report is part of a mandate by Congress for federal agencies to compile a report on climate change and the first for the Trump administration, which has at its helm a president who denies climate change.

A small portion of its overview reads:

“The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future—but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur. Americans increasingly recognize the risks climate change poses to their everyday lives and livelihoods and are beginning to respond.”

The report provides a summary findings with 12 topics covered. Among the 12 is a section on Indigenous Peoples, which reads:

“Climate change increasingly threatens Indigenous communities’ livelihoods, economies, health, and cultural identities by disrupting interconnected social, physical, and ecological systems.

Many Indigenous peoples are reliant on natural resources for their economic, cultural, and physical well-being and are often uniquely affected by climate change. The impacts of climate change on water, land, coastal areas, and other natural resources, as well as infrastructure and related services, are expected to increasingly disrupt Indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and economies, including agriculture and agroforestry, fishing, recreation, and tourism. Adverse impacts on subsistence activities have already been observed. As climate changes continue, adverse impacts on culturally significant species and resources are expected to result in negative physical and mental health effects. Throughout the United States, climate-related impacts are causing some Indigenous peoples to consider or actively pursue community relocation as an adaptation strategy, presenting challenges associated with maintaining cultural and community continuity. While economic, political, and infrastructure limitations may affect these communities’ ability to adapt, tightly knit social and cultural networks present opportunities to build community capacity and increase resilience. Many Indigenous peoples are taking steps to adapt to climate change impacts structured around self-determination and traditional knowledge, and some tribes are pursuing mitigation actions through development of renewable energy on tribal lands.”

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