Climate change has become a global problem affecting especially the world’s poorest people in developing countries. Well documented failures of developing programs to address climate change issues have shown that western technologies and concepts may not fit the cultural context of many developing nations. Sustainable solutions need to draw on indigenous knowledge that is compatible with the local culture. Therefore, this article presents concepts based on indigenous knowledge that may help to design sustainable development projects to address climate change. The article discusses numerous advantages of involving local people in environmental assessments. Furthermore, indigenous coping mechanisms to deal with droughts and flooding as major impacts of climate change are presented. Coping mechanisms range from special cropping methods, seed preparation, and water management techniques as a response to drought, whereas bamboo platforms, floating seedbeds, stilt houses, and drainage channels are examples for indigenous answers to severe flooding. Also, techniques such as forest gardening, agroforesty, communal forest management, and forest protection based on supernatural beliefs are presented as indigenous approaches to tackle deforestation as a major source for atmospheric CO2 increase leading to global warming. In addition, the advantages of indigenous communication techniques for information dissemination for the purpose of learning and disaster communication are explored. Finally, the problems of indigenous knowledge loss due to acculturation and western/modernity impacts are discussed. The article concludes with a set of recommendations on how to increase the efficiency of documentation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge.
|Keywords:||Indigenous Knowledge, Developing Countries, Droughts, Floods, Deforestation, Climate Change|
Student, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Berrien Springs, Colorado, USA
Andrews University, Michigan, USA
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