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Energy - Traditional Knowledge and Climate Science

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With deep connections to nature, the world’s Indigenous peoples and local communities are experiencing some of the most pronounced affects of climate change. This video documents a United Nations process that is bringing together traditional communities and climate change scientists, especially at two conferences held in Mexico and Australia. I came here today to listen because these other indigenous peoples are very strong in their culture We witnessed a dialogue of different cultures. This series focuses on some of the key links between traditional knowledge and science and the policy solutions being workshopped. The scientists are beginning to say, Hmmm, there's something we need to know as science is based on what its based on observation, and the traditional knowedge also somehow is based on observation. Indigenous peoples have something to contribute in terms solutions to the problem of climate change. ENERGY SOVEREIGNTY Energy supply accounts for almost 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In order to combat global warming, efforts are now focusing on the transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy systems. Despite developments towards clean energy, many local communities still lack basic access to electricity. For them, energy independence is an important but challenging development aspiration. At a climate mitigation conference in Cairns, Bob Gough presented innovative ways Native Americans are envisioning clean energy efficiency and independence. (Bob Gough, USA) What kind of energy security would a city have, if it had several windmills and its own manufacturing plant right there and didn’t have to be waiting or beholding to fossil fuel delivery from far away? That’s the way we envision the future and native communities are all set to do this kind of thing. They recognise the value of that kind of energy sovereignty and energy independence (Archive) Explosions rock the canyon almost daily for two years... Conference discussions showed how many energy projects lack respect for land rights, and fail to support community development. If you don't know where the reservations are in the Dakotas, look for the dams and look upstream. Tribes never got the dams; what they got were the reservoirs. Dams that were built for flood control, if you are an Indian mean, you get the reservoir, you’re permanently flooded and someone else is in control. Speaking at a meeting on adaptation in Mexico, Felipe Marcos Gallego told of how 12 Guatemalan dams are being built without negotiation with the local Ixil peoples. (Felipe Marcos Gallego, Guatemala) We know this is clean energy but when the resources are not distributed equally, or when people don’t receive any benefits from the hydroelectrics like direct access to the electricity at a lower price, or we see an economic return for the role indigenous communities play in the forest protection, water generation and in hydroelectrics downstream. As the framework for the green energy economy emerges, indigenous and local communities are positioning themselves to assert their rights, attract investment and initiate culturally appropriate clean energy solutions. With this next round of energy development in the great plains, which is looking to be windpower, the tribe said...”We would like some say in what happens at least on the reservations.” Any one wind project doesn’t have a capacity value because the wind is here and then it goes on. And we call the wind intermittent. The wind isn’t intermittent — our collection system is. So, if you scatter the collection system across six states, the wind is always blowing somewhere and you can catch it at different places. In the United States, native tribal territories cover only 5% of land area, but have the potential to provide wind energy equivalent to 14% of the total energy production in the US. So, we want to partner as treaty partners with the federal government on a tribal wind, federal hydropower clean energy dynamo. Coupling the two would not only give the region clean energy, but it would also build tribal economies based on renewable energy. Energy independence is increasingly being pursued by some of the world's most isolated peoples. Russian Altai conference delegates explained how they have embraced the cultural potentials of renewable energies. (Chagat Almashev, Russia) We are giving opportunity to traditional cultures to lead their traditional style of life having new technology and sources for energy to have access to internet, light in their houses, stimulating young people to stay in their lands. Further north in the Russian Arctic, the Chuchki have been adopting renewable energy as a way of keeping their peoples on the land. (Peyotr Kaurgin, Russia) Our way of life on the tundra is healthy because of our work. If a reindeer herder lived in the village, of course, he would have a different way of life and drink a lot, or would move to a faraway place. The Chuchki people recognized energy independence was an important step in cultural and environmental stewardship. What has to be done? The leadership of Turvaurgin Commune very often thinks about what to do about it. They seek advice from elders and reindeer herders about what we should do on this occasion. We all agreed and arrived at one important decision, this being the introduction of solar panels. To build and sustain the technical and maintenance skills needed for the solar venture, the community collaborated with Barefoot College in India and Arctic NGO Snowchange. (Tero Mustonen, Finland) The engine for this process is two grandmothers, who went from Kolmya into India to be trained as solar engineers, and then now after many twists and turns, the panels are in Kolyma finally and the grandmothers are back. And, the idea is to solar electrify the nomadic camps and this nomadic schools in the region where they come from. Through energy self-determination, Chuchki people are bringing 21st century clean energy living to their lands. You can turn the kettle on, and for kids... watch and listen to music, radio, TV lately they’ve started to bring laptops. …not transporting with them several tonnes of gasoline, this is already, so to speak, cleansing the earth, cleansing the tundra. The main thing is that our children are with us, so that our traditional way of life can be passed on to them, from generation to generation. In energy developments, there has been a tendency to marginalize local needs and knowledge. However, we have seen that through good local decisions and specialised climate mitigation incentives, it is possible to find culturally appropriate solutions, and develop technology and capacities in line with long term community aspirations. For full interviews and support materials:

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 50 seconds
Country: Japan
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: United Nations University
Views: 109
Posted by: unuchannel on Sep 20, 2012

Energy L'Énergie Energía Энергия

In addition to being owners of large carbon sinks, Indigenous Peoples and local communities are also actively participating in various other important mitigation activities such as producing renewable energies in their territories (wind, small hydropower and geothermal), and resource management projects that reduce pressure on natural resources and enhance local adaptive capacity.

Read full UN report, download this video and find other multi-lingual resources here:

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