The Arizona Republic has posted an article describing the ways in which climate change is effecting the lives of the First Nation people in North America. The article points out that changes are effecting all the people who live close to the land:
For Native American communities whose culture and sustenance are dependent on the natural environment, climate change poses an immediate threat.
- Weather: In the Lower Colorado region, the past seven years have been the driest in a century, Bureau of Reclamation officials said. Warmer temperatures are thawing the permafrost in Alaska, cracking building foundations and thawing lakes that were once passable by snowmobile. In the worst cases, entire homes and villages are literally falling through the ice.
- Wildlife: Shorter winters and earlier springs and summers are affecting planting schedules and harvests around the country. Seasonal changes are also affecting animals’ migration and hibernation. As temperatures warm, plant and animal species crucial to tribes’ religions, diets and culture migrate north in search of colder weather. Reservation boundaries, however, are fixed.
What they say: “As our species migrate off, we don’t have the legal right to follow them,” said Terry Williams, fisheries and natural resources commissioner for the Tulalip Tribes. If nothing is done, he warned, “within the next 20 to 25 years, our culture will be terminated, because the necessary species will be gone.”
There’s more at the link above.