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Indigenous people sought to watch climate

May 14, 2009 at 3:53 PM   |   Comments

ST. LOUIS, May 14 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say Earth's indigenous people could be good monitors of the effects of climate change, helping in adapting to and mitigating global warning.

Two scientists at the Missouri Botanical Garden -- Nanci Ross and Jan Salick -- said indigenous and traditional people are on the frontline of climate change, experiencing unprecedented heat, melting icecaps, droughts, floods and threatened natural resources.

"They are adapting to and mitigating climate changes worldwide," said Salick, an ecological ethnobotanist. "Isn't it time their voices are heard at international climate change forums?"

Salick and Ross said indigenous and other traditional peoples are rarely considered in academic, policy and public discourses on climate change, despite the fact they will be impacted by impending changes. The researchers said such people interpret and react to climate change in creative ways, drawing on traditional knowledge and new technologies to find solutions, which may help society at large to cope with climate change.

Salick and Ross report their views in the May issue of the journal "Global Environmental Change."

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