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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

First Native American conference on global warming

The Lower Colorado River, home to the Cocopah (Kwapa) for many centuries, is today the site of the first Tribal Lands Climate Conference. The inaugural gathering brings together leaders from more than 50 tribes in an effort to address global warming and the environment.

“Native Americans can provide key inspiration regarding global warming and its impact on our world, unite broad stakeholder support, and demonstrate actions that alleviate global warming impacts,” said Garrit Voggesser, manager of the National Wildlife Federation’s Tribal Lands Conservation Program.

The National Wildlife Federation, in co-sponsoring the conference, is reaching out to those best able to tell the stories and offer first-hand accounts of the impact global warming is having on fish, wildlife and natural resources. Native Americans are critical eyewitnesses to the effects on the environment of technology and industrialization over the past century. Having close ties to the land over a span of many generations, they are uniquely able to compare what is happening today with experiences and observations of the natural cycles of our land and resources in the past.

It is hoped that the Tribal Lands Climate Conference will engage and empower tribal advocates for the environment, connecting them with key decision-makers in science, industry, government and non-government organizations.

Having thousands of years of traditional knowledge and connections to the environment, Native Americans can play a significant role in shaping how America will respond to combat global warming.

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