Indigenous people have managed the natural resources they live from since the dawn of humanity, and are actual guardians of most of the world’s biodiversity and remaining resources. Although Indigenous Peoples have one of the lowest contribution to climate change and a comparatively low carbon footprint, they are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Therefore unfairly paying a ‘double negative price’ for Climate Change.
There is great need to recognize that Indigenous Peoples possess an immense knowledge of their environments, based on the experience of living for centuries in close relation to nature. They have been living in and from the vast richness and variety that their complex ecosystems offer. It is from their deep understanding of the properties of plants and animals, the functioning of their ecosystems and the techniques for using and managing their land, that is unique from the rest of the world who have become more and more disconnected from the natural world.
By identifying leaders on Traditional Knowledge working on land re-generation and restoring land through the transmission of their cultural identity, there will be further support by finding sources of funding, which will also be used to train and pay for youth participating in Workshops to build a network of Land Healers.
A pilot project and source for inspiration is the work done by Waterock L3C and the Hopi Raincatchers. For 3 years Waterock, has been training Hopi Youth on restoring their land, by stopping erosion and restoring sacred springs.
The Hopi Raincatchers themselves have trained around 80 Navajo Youth. On an international scope, the previously trained Hopi Raincatchers and Navajo Youth will be able to meet with indigenous youth around the world, where appropriate interest is expressed and identified, to teach and exchange traditional knowledge. The result will be the exchange of traditional knowledge on a global scale by an action-driven approach. Teaching will be conducted in an hands-on approach, which allows for the land to be restored, while participants learn to become experts in this field.
Upon submission of a project, the foundation will conduct a feasibility study of the project before advancing with potential funding sources. Participants of the Workshop are further urged to reach out to their peers through presentations at school or reach out to organizations that are able to increase the number of youth participants to become trained “Land Healers” in order to show their commitment. [Could be made also into an outreach program of the foundation itself]
5) Alternative Adaptation and Mitigation Methods
A Western perspective on classical ecological restoration envisions people in landscapes as managers, planners, organizers, and facilitators; it envisions a human dominance over land either in form of scientific management or as a set of impacts that need to be monitored and contained. This kind of ecological restoration is abiotic and offers no space for cultural diversity.
There is a strong need to recognize and include Traditional Ecological Knowledge on an equal level to western scientific methods. Unfortunately, the tendency of Western policymakers designing and implementing climate change initiatives frequently overlook Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge. Often times policies or projects in response to adaptation or mitigation of climate change have little awareness of indigenous cultural traditions and practices and can cause more harm than good. Traditional Ecological Knowledge has proven to provide valuable information on responses to climate change effects on the environment and cultural heritage and well-being.
Upon successful completion of the Workshops and the minimum required amount of work, participants will be rewarded with a Certification [Check what steps are needed in each country/region to make a certification valid in a work related capacity within their respective countries]. The Certification will allow the participants to apply for jobs within this field, showcasing work experience and skill-sets acquired.
With each trained participant knowledge and skills are transferred and it is the responsibility of each graduate to pass along their newly acquired expertise. By graduating, the student becomes the teacher and has the ability to grow the network of Land Healers even further. This ‘pollination’ process allows for the project to grow organically. The more participate in the process, the more can help Up-scale the project within their communities, their region and their respective countries.