Earth's tribes unite against climate threats
From Arctic Inuit to Pacific Islanders, indigenous peoples from 80 countries are meeting at a summit in Anchorage, Alaska (pdf), this week to forge a common position on climate change. They want an official voice alongside national governments in upcoming negotiations to agree a successor to the Kyoto protocol.
The meeting is emphasising indigenous peoples' histories of adapting to change. But beneath it is the fear that they will be trampled by rich countries trying to cut greenhouse emissions by managing indigenous lands.
"Indigenous peoples have contributed least to the global problems of climate change, but will almost certainly bear the greatest brunt of its impact," says Patricia Cochran, chair of the summit and head of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. Arctic peoples are hurting as sea ice changes and permafrost melts. The Yup'ik village of Newtok, Alaska, is now moving to higher ground to escape storm surges unleashed by disappearing sea ice and another 26 villages in Alaska are similarly threatened.