Monday, August 24, 2009

water water water!

Since January 2009, I've participated in a cross-regional dialog at the invitation of Cheryl Anderson at the University of Hawaii Urban and Regional Planning Department. The dialog is held over video teleconference (VTC), and the overall theme for all of the VTC sessions is “Climate Change, Water Impacts, and Indigenous People.” According nto Cheryl:

"It started w/some funding from the National Integrated Drought Information System through the RISA programs in a program called “coping w/drought.” For the places in our regions, drought is important, but water availability was the way that it manifests. For Alaska, water quality is problematic because of the global pollutants that work their way into the ice/ecosystems, and drought in islands happens a lot but the US was less aware because it does not have the extensive crop impacts like on the US mainland…One of the original intents of this project was to make sure that local and indigenous knowledge and approaches for dealing w/climate change are brought to the forefront and that US federal agencies are aware about how critical climate issues are. We wanted to provide a way to get 'voice' from remote, rural, and indigenous communities into policy development….

The theme areas were broad so that we could look at different elements in each dialogue. The November 2008 dialogue focused on drought and water availability specifically, with thoughts on how this will play out w/CC. The April dialogue focused more on climate change adaptation strategies.

Below is a link to a presentation I gave with colleagues Terry Keju, Moriana Philips, and Ingrid Ahlgren at the April session on Climate Change and Water Resources: The Marshall Islands. We didn't cover nearly all we wanted to, but it was a good start. You will also see some maps that indicate all participants of this unique cross-regional dialog on climate change among indigenous peoples.