Tradition aids battle against climate change

Sunday October 29, 2017 Written by Published in Local

Pacific Islanders need to look back at theit traditional ecosystem knowledge and practices to help cope with the impacts of climate change, says William Tuivaga.


Tuivaga, the programme manager of the Cook Islands’ Strengthening the Resilience of our Islands and our Communities to Climate Change (SRIC–CC), shared these sentiments at a Pacific Regional Dialogue on linking action on climate change, biodiversity management and sustainable development in Suva, Fiji this week.

The five-day dialogue was held to identify opportunities to ensure biodiversity and climate change policies “speak” to each other, and that climate change policies integrate nature-based solutions.

Tuivaga, who represented the country at the event, pointed out that ecosystem-based approaches are not a new concept to the Pacific.

“The terms and acronyms we use today like DRR, CCA, mitigation and adaptation are new to our people but the activities are not,” he said at the meeting.

“Our Pacific ancestors have been practicing these for thousands of years to safeguard their natural resources and their families. We exist today because of this knowledge and these practices. They too have come through cyclones and other natural threats.

“Now and more than ever, we Pacific Islanders need to look back at our traditional ecosystem knowledge and practices as these are the tools that will help us cope with the impacts of climate change.”

In examples to support his argument, Tuivaga said there were traditional signs for cyclones like an abundance in kuru (breadfruit) or the twisting of banana tree leaves.

“Sometimes if we slow down, stop talking and listen carefully, we will hear the cries of Mother nature – saying that enough is enough.”

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