Climate change is a reality that is already being felt worldwide. Ironically, it are often the most remote indigenous communities, far removed from the industrial countries that are emitting the bulk of greenhouse gases, that first experience large shifts in the climate they depend on, and that see their way of life threatened.
In the Maldives, there is an indigenous calendar called nakaiy, which follows the changes in weather and the rising and the setting of the stars. For centuries it has determined the best time to fish, travel, plant crops, build a house, or even get married. However, because of climate change, this traditional method is no longer reliable for the Maldivians.
In Peru, the Huacapunco dance at the foot of their lagoon. Dressed in typical costumes to the beat of a pair of flutes and drums, they thank the Pachamama (goddess) and his apus that the water will not be foreign to them during the dry months. However, their prayers and offerings seem no longer enough as the lagoon where they get water from continues to dry up.
In the Himalayan Region of Nepal, the Dhe Village has struggled with their agricultural practices like grazing. There is less snow today than in previous years, drying up other water sources as well as their grass fields. This translates to livestock such as goats and cattles dying. For centuries people of the region have been celebrating festivals called loshar and yartung. Each house contributes grains to make food and chang (local beer) for the whole village. Eating, drinking, singing and dancing used to be the part such festivals. As the food-production is decreases and livestock dwindles, villagers are finding hard to continue these traditions.
People have built cultures and traditions with the land they live in. But with an increasingly changing climate, these cultures and traditions are now changing and might even disappear completely.
Tracking Climate Change and Shifting Cultures
There is a dire need to document how local cultures are experiencing climate change, before it is too late. That is why Climate Tracker, a young group of over 3,000 journalists reporting on climate change, has decided to send its most talented and driven reporters on expeditions all over the world to document how local cultures are experiencing climate change.
All these expeditions will be collected in a book entitled Ilnamiqui, preserving our cultural memories. Ilnamiqui being the Aztec word for ‘rememberance’ and ‘to reflect upon’. With a crowdfunding campaign they hope to receive the help of as many people possible to make this book a reality, and to publish it by November 2017, in time for the next UN Climate Negotiations at the COP23 in Bonn, Germany.
Learn more about this important project, and how you can contribute here.