finding 12.1 : food-access-impacts-native-health

Observed and future impacts from climate change threaten Native Peoples’ access to traditional foods such as fish, game, and wild and cultivated crops, which have provided sustenance as well as cultural, economic, medicinal, and community health for generations.



This finding is from chapter 12 of Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment.

Process for developing key messages: A central component of the assessment process was participation by members of the Chapter Author Team in a number of climate change meetings attended by indigenous peoples and other interested parties, focusing on issues relevant to tribal and indigenous peoples. These meetings included: Oklahoma Inter-Tribal Meeting on Climate Variability and Change held on December 12, 2011, at the National Weather Center, Norman, OK, attended by 73 people.7fbb768c-d8cf-48a5-88b4-dddb6d254013 Indigenous Knowledge and Education (IKE) Hui Climate Change and Indigenous Cultures forum held in January 2012 in Hawai‘i and attended by 36 people.a55e1352-b4c6-42f8-bafa-a920c9e1107b Alaska Forum on the Environment held from February 6-10, 2012, at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska, and attended by about 1400 people with approximately 30 to 60 people per session.0808ea70-a152-4f50-abda-90370beb3632 Stories of Change: Coastal Louisiana Tribal Communities’ Experiences of a Transforming Environment, a workshop held from January 22-27, 2012, in Pointe-au-Chein, Louisiana, and attended by 47 people.bbc3c75e-6c21-4e60-8285-514cde885865 American Indian Alaska Native Climate Change Working Group 2012 Spring Meeting held from April 23–24, 2012, at the Desert Diamond Hotel-Casino in Tucson, Arizona, and attended by 80 people.2d423414-dc26-4edc-85e0-6f99bdc6283c First Stewards Symposium. First Stewards: Coastal Peoples Address Climate Change. National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC. July 17-20, 2012.705965c5-ad05-4327-b35f-a7118a8f41a8 In developing key messages, the Chapter Author Team engaged in multiple technical discussions via teleconferences from August 2011 to March 2012 as they reviewed more than 200 technical inputs provided by the public, as well as other published literature and professional judgment. Subsequently, the Chapter Author Team teleconferenced weekly between March and July 2012 for expert deliberations of draft key messages by the authors. Each key message was defended by the entire author team before being selected for inclusion in the chapter report. These discussions were supported by targeted consultation with additional experts by the lead author of each message.

Description of evidence base: The key message and supporting chapter text summarize extensive evidence documented in more than 200 technical input reports on a wide range of topics that were received and reviewed as part of the Federal Register Notice solicitation for public input. Numerous peer-reviewed publications describe loss of biodiversity, impacts on culturally important native plants and animals, increases in invasive species, bark beetle damage to forests, and increased risk of forest fires that have been observed across the United States.debdf209-4050-4706-965c-09cff7ec353b 842903de-6ded-43d7-9f25-19149a85349e 990ae60c-a393-4383-b3ca-604ec576bda8 b3629fab-c342-4017-bf97-459becd4d640 e061ef38-98af-418f-8a2a-6a60fabda25e 7bc1ebe9-955f-4c9f-a54c-f718e354d5ca Climate drivers associated with this key message are also discussed in Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate. There are also many relevant and recent peer-reviewed publications0a6d16f1-2362-46a1-8bfa-622dc2a43268 6848eec2-534b-4629-967c-53d8530089a3 debdf209-4050-4706-965c-09cff7ec353b dfd0d0e9-749a-460b-876d-f2b2cbe90acd e061ef38-98af-418f-8a2a-6a60fabda25e 7bc1ebe9-955f-4c9f-a54c-f718e354d5ca c1162288-6379-4b60-b573-d0f8482d8fa0 describing the northward migration of the boreal forest and changes in the distribution and density of wildlife species that have been observed. Observed impacts on plant and animal species important to traditional foods, ceremonies, medicinal, cultural and economic well-being, including species loss and shifts in species range, are well-documented.0a6d16f1-2362-46a1-8bfa-622dc2a43268 6848eec2-534b-4629-967c-53d8530089a3 debdf209-4050-4706-965c-09cff7ec353b 55866e23-04c0-406a-aee0-6df58cde18be 842903de-6ded-43d7-9f25-19149a85349e 990ae60c-a393-4383-b3ca-604ec576bda8 bbc3c75e-6c21-4e60-8285-514cde885865 3bec0032-e5a0-4ba7-8903-9c41dd2a2862 490ea072-36e7-4187-87ab-c91d16dac4c8 e061ef38-98af-418f-8a2a-6a60fabda25e

New information and remaining uncertainties: A key uncertainty is how indigenous people will adapt to climate change, given their reliance on local, wild foods and the isolated nature of some communities, coupled with their varied preparedness and limited ability to deal with wildfires. Increased wildfire occurrences may affect tribal homes, safety, economy, culturally important species, medicinal plants, traditional foods, and cultural sites. There is uncertainty as to the extent that climate change will affect Native American and Alaska Natives’ access to traditional foods such as salmon, shellfish, crops, and marine mammals, which have provided sustenance as well as cultural, economic, medicinal, and community health for countless generations.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: Based on the evidence and remaining uncertainties, confidence is very high that observed and future impacts from climate change, such as increased frequency and intensity of wildfires, higher temperatures, changes in sea ice, and ecosystem changes, such as forest loss and habitat damage, are threatening Native American and Alaska Natives’ access to traditional foods such as salmon, shellfish, crops, and marine mammals, which have provided sustenance as well as cultural, economic, medicinal, and community health for countless generations.

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