Giving attention to indigenous knowledge on climatic changes

Article: Weatherhead E. and S. Gearheardand R.G. Barry (2010): Changes in weather persistence: Insight from Inuit knowledge.

I found this paper hugely interesting. The main message as I see it, that indigenous knowledge is important to incorporate regarding climate change research, is a statement that is given growing attention and it will be interesting to follow this development. Not only can collaboration between indigenous and professional knowledge increase understanding of climate change, but it also encourages more mutual respectful collaboration between scientist and locals – which I also perceive as a central issue in attempting to improve adaptation to climate change more generally.

Abstract from journal article:

Since the 1990s, local residents from around the Arctic have reported changes in weather predictability. Examination of environmental measurements have not, until now, helped describe what the local inhabitants have been reporting, in part because prior studies did not focus directly on the persistence aspect of weather. Here we show that there is evidence of changes in persistence in weather over the last two decades for Baker Lake, Nunavut, Canada. Hourly data indicate that for local spring, the persistence of temperature has changed dramatically in the last 15 years with some years showing a strong drop in day-to-day persistence in the local spring afternoons, somewhat at odds with changes in persistence on a more global scale. Changes in daily persistence may have implications for human health, agriculture, and ecosystems worldwide. More importantly, the approach of merging indigenous knowledge with scientific methods may offer unexpected benefits for both.

New book on sustainability in Cape Town

Counter-Currents: Experiments in Sustainability in the Cape Town Region

ed. Edgar Pieterse

The purpose of this book will be to showcase bold urban development initiatives by the both the state and the private sector with the aim of shifting public ideas and discourses about the kind of Cape Town we should be imagining and nurturing; a city that works explicitly with many unresolved contradictions and tensions but also strives to give expression to a number of core values such as sustainability, social justice, integration and creativity.

Report and reflections on the presentation of The UN Habitat Global Report 2009: Planning sustainable cities: Global report on human settlements.

The presentation was made by Vanessa Watson, which is one of the lead authors in the book.
The background for the report is that there is a re-emerging focus on urban planning. Since the 1980, planning had negative connotations much due to the failures of the former planning approach and the neo-liberal trends favoring marked solutions. However, since the neo-liberal approaches also have appeared unsuccessful regarding city developments, there is now a widespread recognition that neither marked nor communities can solve the city development problems. Moreover, there have been dramatic changes in the 21 century city developments; pressures like rapid urbanization and climate change now makes the situations even more difficult for planners. Therefore, planning has re-emerged as urban development approach, but with a different approach. The overall message in the UN habitat report reflects this approach. Continue reading


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