We deploy a host of beneficial gadgets, commodities and utilities for refining our living standards but, despite their promising benefits, some of them have certain adverse spinoffs. For instance, our dependence on fossil fuels, deforestation, livestock farming serve as crucial stimulants to the catastrophe due to climate change.
Climate change is supposed to be the greatest public health challenge we have been facing at this hour. Though the whole mankind has been experiencing its severe adverse impacts on health, however, the tribal and indigenous people are at the most vulnerable state. Climate Justice needs fair treatment and wellness of all people – irrespective of the gender, socioeconomic status and race and with an eye to it, several policies and programmes were being initiated. By providing necessary assistance and resources to the needy communities, we can be able to create a healthy and safe environment for all.
Significant reports prepared by scientists have highlighted some of the major health priority issues for tribal people among which, global warming and climate change is the most influencing one. Climate change impacts the air, water and food to a great extent. We have faced numerous appalling aftermaths such as rising level of coastal water, frequent occurrences of forest fires, extreme weather conditions, pest and vector-borne diseases, food crisis, lower underground aquifer level and inland water. Due to the extreme environmental changes and geographic vulnerabilities, some Alaska Native/American Indian communities have already been displaced or migrated because of non-favourable living conditions.
Disruption of their way of living
The changing weather patterns along with warming water bodies are influencing the health of native plants and animals if they fail to adapt or migrate properly as per the changing ecosystem. This, in turn, is disrupting the ability of local inhabitants to get proper access to prime sources of food and medicine.
Noticeably, the fishing and hunting rights of Alaska Native/American Indians are restricted by treaty right boundaries, which, have been subjected to litigation and encroachment. The Treaty rights. Resultantly, this is limiting the access to ethnologically significant species that have migrated to various other geographic regions and local plants which are non-favorable for the survival of life.
Many of the tribal or indigenous people are based on rural settlements and they are majorly dependent on the surface water – lakes, reservoirs and streams. The surface water is specifically susceptible to non-source pollution that enters into the waterway at the time of heavy storms and precipitation. The severity and frequency of these devastating storms have become a great concern because of the impact of global warming and climate change.
It is crucial to build a strong understanding of the indigenous people and environmental health issues to plan more fruitful initiatives for addressing the concerns faced by them. Working in partnership and collaboration with the tribal public will be of great help for us to build a better future while preserving our cultural roots.