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Dr. Kari Norgaard Presents: Can Climate Change be a Strategic Opportunity?

Feb 2, 2016, 12:00 pm1:30 pm

Kari NorgaardKari Norgaard, Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies will be presenting at the NAS Research Colloquium, “Can Climate Change be a Strategic Opportunity? Karuk Tribe’s Climate Vulnerability Assessment.”

Climate change poses significant threats to Karuk traditional foods and cultural use species and tribal political status on the one hand, and on the other represents the greatest material and symbolic threat settler-colonial society has encountered to date. Climate change brings major challenges to the Karuk Tribe as precipitation patterns change, drought increases and high intensity wildfires become more frequency and severe. In particular, the combination of climate change and past non-Native forest management activities have created landscape conditions that could be completely devastating with high intensity fire.

These changing climactic conditions affect specific Karuk tribal traditional foods and cultural use species, create infrastructure vulnerabilities to specific tribal programs and pose broader implications for long term management authority and political status. On the other hand, the untenable nature of non-Native management forest practices is now becoming widely visible to non-Native land managers and agencies. Interest in traditional ecological knowledge and traditional indigenous management practices is growing in the face of climate change.

Climate change has brought a shifting policy terrain where new mandates and organizational structures have begun to emerge. Can these two factors provide a strategic opportunity for the return of Karuk use fire to the landscape? The Karuk Tribe’s climate vulnerability assessment is an attempt to use the present political moment as a tactical opportunity to return traditional management practices to the land.

Please join us on Tuesday, February 2 from noon-1:30 pm at the Many Nations Longhouse to learn more about Dr. Norgaard’s research.