Indigenous knowledge key to addressing climate change - rangatahi activist

11:33 am on 10 August 2021

Indigenous knowledge holds the solutions to address climate change but having a seat at a table won't be enough, says rangatahi climate change activist Tiana Jakicevich.

Tiana Jakicevich of Te Ara Whatu.

Tiana Jakicevich of Te Ara Whatu. Photo: Instagram / @tearawhatu

The UN climate panel has sounded a dire warning, saying the world is dangerously close to runaway warming and that humans are "unequivocally" to blame.

Young climate change activists are describing the report as a stark reminder government's need to crank up work on cutting emissions before it's too late.

They say it's also an opportunity for the country to rethink the way we fight the climate crisis, to weave in the knowledge of indigenous communities.

Tiana Jakicevich (Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Kahungungu ki te Wairoa) of Te Ara Whatu told Morning Report space needs to be given for this knowledge to flourish.

"Indigenous peoples, our knowledge holds the solutions to addressing this climate crisis. We don't create the climate crisis but we have the solutions to fix the climate crisis."

But it's important to recognise that just giving indigenous peoples a space at the table isn't enough, Jakicevich said.

"Whatever our mātauranga (knowledge) is, it isn't going to work under the construct of your system and your table.

"In order for our voices to be heard, we need people to create systems and structures so that our voices can be heard."

Jakicevich offered the process of rāhui as an example of indigenous knowledge benefiting the climate.

"Our process of a rāhui to stop collection of shellfish in an area of a pātaka kai is an example of fixing, of stopping any resource extraction and ensuring that there will still be resources for the future generation tomorrow."

Brianna Fruean of Pacific Climate Warriors says the IPCC report is alarming but not unexpected.

"I feel like we knew that this was coming because we see climate change happen everyday."

Samoan youth climate activist Brianna Fruean.

Samoan youth climate activist Brianna Fruean. Photo: Suppiled

Fruean said the IPPC report is timely and what is needed to push leaders into action.

"We have gone past the time of wanting our leaders to just admit that climate change is real, I think we're past the time of just our leaders coming and saying 'oh yeah, this is existing, we aim to do this in the far future' I think we don't have time for that, we don't have any space for those kinds of empty statements anymore."

One of the key things in the report is a greater sense of how quickly the planet is warming, Elliott Hughes of Generation Zero told Morning Report.

"There's really a very urgent need to take action now as we're coming very close to the level where global warming starts breaching the barriers we've set and starts causing even more serious issues."

Young people will continue to place pressure on those in government and on the private sector, he said.

"We expect leaders to step up their game."

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