Monday, 4 January 2016

The unreported impact on local indigenous tribes

It has been somewhat neglected in science and in political climate talks, including COP21, of the impact climate change is having on indigenous tribes in both polar and alpine environments. The tribes rely on the ice as both a source of fresh water and in polar regions, a platform for hunting. So what regions are being hit the hardest in regards to indigenous tribe daily life?

"Change has come to the Arctic", Article and source by Jess Worth 

The UN are one of the only bodies which acknowledge the impacts of the melting world on impacting indigenous people. In a report titled "Climate Change and Indigenous People" issues were highlighted with the melting world on impacting daily norms which are becoming increasingly difficult. The summary of impacts is as followed:

  • In the high attitudinal Himalayas, fresh water has shown a decrease over the long run, with rapid abrupt increase on the short term due to rapid glacial and snow melt during the summer months. This posses a threat of water insecurity in the near future. Furthermore, if glaciers fully retreat, large volumes of available freshwater will be removed, forcing tribes to relocate into manageable regions.
  • Indigenous people in the high Arctic rely on the ice to hunt, a major source of income and food. As mentioned in my last post, the Arctic sea ice extent fell in 2014 into the sixth lowest ice mass ever recorded in the instrumental record. This ultimately means that both polar bears and seals which use the ice as shelter and as a hunting ground will no longer be accessible to sea ice hunters when the ice has retreated. Transport links through sledges are already being seen to break up sooner in the year with melt water blocking passages across the ice.
  • In high Scandinavia, tribes rely on cold winter temperatures to allow moss and lichen to grow for the reindeer's to eat. Without these colder winter temperatures, the reindeer livestock is expected to plummet, again a major source of food and economic income for the tribes.
The sad issue that encompasses this topic is that the indigenous tribes contribute the least to global climate change, yet are at the forefront of battling the effects of it without the technology to fight against it. If rates of global warming do not slow over the coming centuries, a large part of global culture will be lost. Little is currently being done to prevent this, and its only a matter of time until the indigenous tribes of the cryosphere will have to relocate.

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