Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Symposium (Nov. 9, FIU MMC, WC 130)

The Global Indigenous Forum (GIF) of Florida international University is organizing the Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Symposium. This symposium aims to bring together indigenous peoples, scientists, and other individuals to discuss ideas on how to collaborate on efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The goal is to identify strategies that participants of the conference can follow in pursuit of these efforts and to devise a plan of action for implementing these strategies.

Indigenous peoples around the world are experiencing immediate and disproportionate impacts from climate change. Most of them live in environments that are highly vulnerable to climate change. Shaping of the identities, culture, and livelihoods of indigenous peoples was and continues to be dependent on their close and intimate relationship with their surrounding natural environment. Unfortunately, the determining of decisions, policies, and actions taken to address climate change tends not to include the participation of indigenous peoples. This has often led to the development of strategies that fail to address the threats to the well-being of the present and future generations of indigenous peoples, and as such tend to fail society-at-large as well.

Indigenous peoples have community-based and local knowledge that can help build a better scientific understanding of environmental changes that result from climate change. Some of this local knowledge involves coping strategies to deal with unstable environments. Collaboration between scientists and indigenous peoples can add highly valuable locally specific information to scientific research that tends to focus on broad-scale contexts. It can also help guide the development of intercultural strategies for community-based adaptations to climate change.

Given the immediate and serious threat that climate change poses to indigenous peoples and the valuable role they can play in helping address these threats, it is critically important to establish a collaborative effort between climate change science and indigenous knowledge. To help stimulate the intended collaboration, this symposium brings together representatives of indigenous groups, scientists, and other relevant experts in the form of work groups tasked to share their knowledge and experiences related to identifying and responding to threats caused by climate change. The goal of this symposium is to identify strategies that participants of the conference can follow in pursuit of these efforts and to devise a plan of action for implementing these strategies.

Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Symposium: Perspectives on Sea Level Rise by the Tribal Groups of Southern Louisiana

1:00 to 2:00 PM. Monday, November 9, 2015
WC 130, Maidique Campus. Florida International University
Everyone Invited.

There are several tribal groups living in the South Louisiana bayous where the environmental impacts from sea level rise is a threat to the way of life of the local population. One tribal group is considering relocation while others are looking for ways to adapt to the changes. Tribal representatives Theresa Dardar and Rosina Philippe will be joined by other tribal members to present testimony on the challenges that the tribes face as they consider the responses to their current situation. Via teleconference, the 30 minute testimony from the tribal members will be followed by discussion aimed to provide insight into how indigenous peoples are confronting impacts from climate change.

Coordinated by Dr. James Riach, FIU Department of Earth and Environment.

Invited Discussants:

  • Rev. Kristina J. Peterson, PhD., Facilitator from the Lowlander Center, Louisiana
  • Julie Maldonado, PhD, Consultant for the Pointe–au-Chien Tribe and Lecturer, Department of Environmental Studies, UC Santa Barbara
  • Bob Gough, cofounder of the Rising Voices: Collaborative Science for Climate Solutions program . National Center for Atmospheric Research.
  • Aranzazu Lascurain, Program Coordinator of the Southeast Climate Science Center in North Carolina State University
  • Nancy Maynard, PhD, Senior research scientist (Emeritus) in the Cryospheric Sciences Branch at NASA GSFC - currently located at CIMAS/RSMAS at U. Miami as a Visiting Scientist.

Sponsored by the FIU Global Indigenous Forum, the student club the Global Indigenous Group, Council of Student Organizations, and the Sea Level Rise Working Group of SERC: Southeast Environmental Research Center.

Please refer all questions to:

Jim Riach, PhD
Board and Founding Member of the Global Indigenous Forum
Senior Instructor in the Department of Earth & Environment
Florida International University, Miami, FL