Monday, 15 October 2012

Obama's Department of the Interior is "forging ahead with several initiatives related to climate change and global warming"

The Summit Voice reports that "Climate change may not be front and center in the current presidential campaign, but behind the scenes, the Obama administration has been forging ahead with several initiatives related to climate science and global warming."
"Most recently, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced his department’s regional Climate Science Centers will award more than $10 million in funding to universities and other partners. The research will guide managers of parks, refuges and other resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change."

Among the 69 projects so generously funded by the Department of the Interior's network of eight regional Climate Science Centers here is one, just to give you an example: 

Inter-Tribal Workshops on Climate Variability and Change
Principal Investigator: Laurel Smith, University of Oklahoma
Cooperators & Partners: Renee McPherson, South Central Climate Science Center; Randy Peppler, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies; Rachel Riley, Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program; Wayne Kellogg, Chickasaw Nation, U.S. Department of Environment Health and Safety; Dana McDaniel Bonham, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; Kim Winton, U.S. Geological Survey Oklahoma Water Science Center; Filoteo Gómez, Private Consultant   

New partnerships among tribal nations and members of the climate science and conservation communities call for multicultural conversations about climate change, risk, and variability. To contribute to the goal of mutual understanding, this project will develop and implement a series of workshops that will (1) educate tribal representatives across the region about climate science and climate adaptation practices, (2) document climate impacts on the tribal nations and their peoples, lands, resources, and economies, and (3) extend, enhance, and foster dialogue among tribal representatives, climate scientists, and conservation leadership. By blending educational outreach with preliminary research on how tribal members know and conceptualize weather and climate, as well as how they have historically struggled with adapting to new climate conditions, this project will facilitate the design of products that tribal decision makers can use, help monitor climate 
change in the field, and provide lessons about adaptation that are useful for both tribal and non-tribal communities and businesses.

The workshops cited above are not the first of their kind. Here is an excerpt from the summary of the "Oklahoma Inter-Tribal Meeting on Climate Variability and Change, December 12, 2011":

"One participant noted that some of his tribal members in Oklahoma are responsible for growing and delivering heirloom seeds 
to their members in Georgia, but the recent fall harvest  produced very low yields. The members 

were unable to get much corn, beans, or squash to germinate due to the drought. One participant 
also said that two weeks prior to the meeting he was unable to find a specific medicinal plant his 
tribe uses, and he suspected the climate over the past year was to blame. Another participant said 
they could not find any sand plums, which they use for their ceremonies. Water is used for some 
ceremonies, so it can be problematic when there is not much at the tribe’s disposal. Heat has been a 
problem during ceremonies since the older citizens could not go into the non-air conditioned lodge. 
Instead, they stayed outside in the shade. Heat was also a problem for another tribe. One 
participant said that they held their ceremonies a week or two earlier than normal to avoid the 
worse heat. Unfortunately it was still very hot and a couple of dancers succumbed to the heat."


Of course US indian tribes should be treated well, but shouldn't the scarce resources be used to something more productive and useful than "Inter-Tribal meetings on Climate Variability and Change"?

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