SGI Hosts Discussion on Climate Change
From May 4-8, 2009, SGI representatives took part in the 17th UN Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) session held at the UN headquarters in New York, USA. On May 6, SGI and the CSD Education Caucus co-organized a related panel discussion on adapting to climate change entitled "Voices from the Frontlines." Focusing on a need to combine both traditional and scientific knowledge to empower people to prepare for life in a changing environment, the event brought together perspectives from the Arctic and Africa with a report from the Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change, held in Anchorage from April 20-24.
Nick Illauq, co-chair of the Ittaq Heritage and Research Centre and Deputy Mayor of Clyde River, in Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, introduced innovative ways his community is using GPS technology and traditional wisdom to map hunting grounds and warn of dangers such as thinning ice. Arame Tall of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) described her work with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in West and Central Africa to bring results of climate change science through Red Cross networks to local communities. A short film produced by villagers in Mphunga Village in Malawi to share climate change adaptation techniques with other nearby communities was also shown. SGI member Fernanda Baumhardt facilitated the making of the film with the Malawian Red Cross.
The Indigenous Information Network, the CSD Indigenous Peoples' Caucus and the CSD Youth Caucus co-sponsored the event.
On May 4, SGI representative Joan Anderson introduced SGI's philosophy of grassroots empowerment in tackling environmental education as a panelist in a symposium entitled "Common Ground: Science and Religion in Dialogue for a Sustainable Future." The Center for the Study of Science and Religion, part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, organized the symposium.
[Adapted from a report from the SGI Office of Public Information, Japan; photos courtesy of Danny Sze and Kimiaki Kawai]