Climate Change Assessment and Studies

Indigenous Experiences in the U.S. with Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship in the Anthropocene

Chief, K., Daigle, J. J., Lynn, K., & Whyte, K. P. (2014). Indigenous experiences in the US with climate change and environmental stewardship in the Anthropocene.

The recognition of climate change issues facing tribal communities and indigenous peoples in the United States is growing, and understanding its impacts is rooted in indigenous ethical perspectives and systems of ecological knowledge. Tribal communities and indigenous peoples across the United States are re-envisioning the role of science in the Anthropocene; working to strengthen government-to-government relationships in climate change initiatives; and leading climate change research, mitigation and adaptation plans through indigenous ingenuity. Unique adaptive capacities of tribal communities stem from their ethics and knowledge, and help frame and guide successful adaptation. This paper synthesizes key issues and case studies related to climate change impacts on tribally valued forest resources and tribal adaptive responses to climate change.

Climate Change Through an Intersectional Lens: Gendered Vulnerability and Resilience in Indigenous Communities in the United States

Vinyeta, K., Whyte, K., & Lynn, K. (2016). Climate change through an intersectional lens: gendered vulnerability and resilience in indigenous communities in the United States. PNW-GTR-923. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Pgs 1-72.

The role of gender in defining how indigenous peoples experience climate change in the United States is a research area that deserves more attention. The coupling of climate change with settler colonialism is the source of unique vulnerabilities. At the same time, gendered knowledge and gender-based activism and initiatives may foster climate change resilience. In this literature synthesis, we cross-reference international literature on gender and climate change, literature on indigenous peoples and climate change, and literature describing gender roles in Native America, in order to build an understanding of how gendered indigeneity may influence climate change vulnerability and resilience in indigenous communities in the United States.

This Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment

Gamble, J.L., J. Balbus, M. Berger, K. Bouye, V. Campbell, K. Chief, K. Conlon, A. Crimmins, B. Flanagan, C. Gonzalez-Maddux, E. Hallisey, S. Hutchins, L. Jantarasami, S. Khoury, M. Kiefer, J. Kolling, K. Lynn, A. Manangan, M. McDonald, R. Morello-Frosch, M.H. Redsteer, P. Sheffield, K. Thigpen Tart, J. Watson, K.P. Whyte, & A.F. Wolkin. 2016. Ch. 9: Populations of Concern. The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC. 247–286.

Climate change is already causing, and is expected to continue to cause, a range of health impacts that vary across different population groups in the United States. The  vulnerability of any given group is a function of its sensitivity to climate change related health risks, its exposure to those risks, and its capacity for responding to or coping with climate variability and change. Planners and public health officials, politicians and physicians, scientists and social service providers are tasked with understanding and responding to the health impacts of climate change. Collectively, their characterization of vulnerability should consider how populations of concern experience disproportionate, multiple, and complex risks to their health and well-being in response to climate change. Some groups face a number of stressors related to both climate and non-climate factors. Many of these stressors can occur simultaneously or consecutively. Over time, this “accumulation” of multiple, complex stressors is expected to become more evident as climate impacts interact with stressors associated with existing mental and physical health conditions and with other socioeconomic and demographic factors.

Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: a Synthesis of Current Impacts and Experiences

Norton-Smith, K., Lynn, K., Chief, K., Cozzetto, K., Donatuto, J., Redsteer, M. H., ... & Whyte, K. P. (2016). Climate change and indigenous peoples: a synthesis of current impacts and experiences. PNW-GTR-944. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Pgs 1-138.

A growing body of literature examines the vulnerability, risk, resilience, and adaptation of indigenous peoples to climate change. This synthesis of literature brings together research pertaining to the impacts of climate change on sovereignty, culture, health, and economies that are currently being experienced by Alaska Native and American Indian tribes and other indigenous communities in the United States. This report defines and describes the key frameworks that inform indigenous understandings of climate change impacts and pathways for adaptation and mitigation, namely, tribal sovereignty and self-determination, culture and cultural identity, and indigenous community health indicators. It also provides a comprehensive synthesis of climate knowledge, science, and strategies that indigenous communities are exploring.

Indigenous Masculinities in a Changing Climate: Vulnerability and Resilience in the United States

Vinyeta, K., Whyte, K., & Lynn, K. (2016). Indigenous masculinities in a changing climate: vulnerability and resilience in the United States. Men, Masculinity and Disaster. Eds Elaine Enarson, Bob Pease. Routledge: Chapter 12.

Little research has focused on the impacts of climate change on Indigenous masculinity. We open this chapter by briefly describing pre-contact Indigenous conceptions of gender in the U.S., followed by a discussion of how settlement has affected gender roles, relations, and gendered traditional knowledge in Indigenous communities. We then describe some of the ways in which Indigeneity and masculinity are intersecting (or may intersect) with climate change in four key arenas: health, migration and displacement, economic and professional development, and culture. We follow this with a discussion of Indigenous men's roles in political resistance and climate change resilience. We conclude by summarizing the key implications for Indigenous climate change initiatives and for the ongoing reconstruction and reassertion of Indigenous gender identities.

Indigenous Climate Change Studies: Indigenizing Futures, Decolonizing the Anthropocene

Whyte, K. P. (2017). Indigenous climate change studies: Indigenizing futures, decolonizing the Anthropocene. English Language Notes. 55 (1-2): 153-162.

Indigenous and allied scholars, knowledge keepers, scientists, learners, change-makers, and leaders are creating a field to support Indigenous peoples’ capacities to address anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. Provisionally, I call it Indigenous climate change studies. The studies involve many types of work, including Indigenous climate resiliency plans, such as the Salish-Kootenai Tribe’s Climate Change Strategic Plan that includes sections on “Culture” and “Tribal Elder Observations, ”policy documents, such as the Inuit Petition expressing “the right to be cold,” conferences, such as “Climate Changed: Reflections on Our Past, Present and Future Situation,” organized by the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Working Group, and numerous declarations and academic papers, from the Mandaluyong Declaration of the Global Conference on Indigenous Women, Climate Change and REDD+ to a special issue of the scientific journal Climatic Change devoted to Indigenous peoples in the U.S. context.