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Snowchange and Skolt Saami River Restoration in US Media, Canadian Art and In Action

comic4The Näätämö river co-management efforts were included in an US media story in Yale 360 journal as well as artwork by Sam Hester in Alberta, Canada. Meanwhile the actual restoration actions proceeded in late April 2018 with the gravel being delivered to the spawning areas to be restored.

In March 2018 the Näätämö river co-management efforts as well as a range of Snowchange and partner related actions were presented at the IPCC Cities and Indigenous Observation of Climate Change meetings in Alberta, Canada. Sam Hester from the 23rd Story for Environmental Monitoring and Science Division, Alberta Environment and Parks, worked during these events to capture Snowchange presentations and the overall important messages of the event for local-traditional and Indigenous communities and processes. The artwork here captures some of the discussions in the event in March 2018.comic3

Co-inciding with this, the Yale 360 news article on linking traditional knowledge and science of climate change was released in late April and is available here.

comic2comic1sora2Finally, gravel was delivered to those spawning areas of the Vainosjoki river area in the Näätämö watershed that will be the targets of restoration actions in Summer 2018 as a part of the co-management efforts.

Markku shovels gravel.

Markku shovels gravel.

Photos here capture the work in late April with Skolt Sámi team consisting of Juha Feodoroff, Risto Semenoff and Markku Porsanger.

Juha and Risto

Juha and Risto

Gravel delivered.

Gravel delivered.

Juha Feodoroff on lake Kirakkajärvi ice with his dog, after a long day at restoration work.

Juha Feodoroff on lake Kirakkajärvi ice with his dog, after a long day at restoration work.

 

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Snowchange Staff Appointed as Lead Author In the Next IPCC Report

Melting permafrost in Siberia. Snowchange, 2012

Melting permafrost in Siberia. Snowchange, 2012

Tero Mustonen from the Snowchange Cooperative has been appointed as a Lead Author for Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has invited 721 expert from 90 countries to participate in the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) as Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors and Review Editors. This allows work to start on the next comprehensive assessment of the science related to climate change.

teroThe Sixth Assessment Report will inform policymakers, international climate negotiators and other stakeholders about the latest knowledge on all aspects of climate change.

The Sixth Assessment Report will update our knowledge on climate change, its impacts and risks, and possible response options, and play an important role in implementing the Paris Agreement,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.

Tero Mustonen from Snowchange Cooperative (also affiliated with the University of Eastern Finland) has been appointed as one of the Lead Authors of the WG2: Climate Change 2021: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. He is a globally known scholar on the Northern climate change, impacts, adaptation and Arctic Indigenous and traditional issues.

Mustonen has been appointed as a Lead Author on the Chapter for Europe: “This appointment, of which we in Snowchange Co-op and with other stakeholders are very thankful for, is in line with the cooperation between IPCC and Snowchange that dates back to 2000. We hope to see for example the increased role of Indigenous and local-traditional knowledge materials contributing to the work and the Assessment where it may be feasible.”

The bureaux of the three IPCC Working Groups selected the authors from 2858 experts representing 105 countries, following a call to governments and IPCC observer organisations for nominations. Working Group I is responsible for the physical science basis, Working Group II looks at impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and Working Group III covers mitigation of climate change.

Photo: Eero Murtomäki

Photo: Eero Murtomäki

“These author teams, drawn from the hundreds of excellent nominations the IPCC was fortunate to receive, provide us with the necessary expertise across a range of disciplines to conduct the assessment. I am gratified that we have also raised the proportion of women and scientists from developing countries involved in our work,” added IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.

Following their selection, the authors will now review the existing scientific literature and prepare drafts of the report on the basis of the outlines of the Working Group contributions already agreed by the Panel.

The three IPCC Working Groups will finalize their respective contributions to the AR6 report in 2021. A Synthesis Report will complete the AR6 cycle in early 2022, integrating all the Working Group contributions and the findings of the three special reports that are currently underway. The conclusions will be available in time for the first Global Stocktake, a periodic review of collective progress towards achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.

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March-April News

winter-netsWinter snows are packing in the Finnish boreal, with no spring in sight. Snowchange round-up from a range of events and news:

  • ICCA Consortium reports on the recent EBSA meeting of the Baltic Sea with Snowchange photos and main results here.
  • Marion Laventure and Antoine Scherer represented the Snowchange Co-op at the recent European Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas Workshop. They shared the experiences of the first ICCAs in Finland, especially Linnunsuo wetland, and participated in a range of discussions on peer reviewing and furthering the ICCA process in Northern Europe.
  • Staff member Chris Madine flies 26th March to Brussels to represent Snowchange and the Kesälahti winter seiners at the Low Impact Fishermen of Europe meeting.
  • Preparations for the third Festival of Northern Fishing Festival is under way in Tornio, Finland with regional partners as well as internationally. Announcements will be made towards summer here.
  • Näätämö river work and seasonal observations are under way. Trout spawning gravel will be transported to Vainosjoki pilot sites starting early April. Discussions on the restoration of the ecological health of the lake Sevettijärvi are under way between Snowchange, Skolt Sámi, municipality of Inari and the regional authorities.
  • New community-based documentation of environmental change will commence along the Ponoi river, Murmansk, this year. More information soon.
  • Jukajoki river restoration moves to a final phase – new wetlands, trout spawning areas, science measurement units and outdoor recreational units will be built this year and 2019 on Linnunsuo and the catchment area.
  • Lake Kuivasjärvi restoration measures will expand in the spring in Western Finland.
  • A documentary film about the Finnish hunter and natue photographer Eero Murtomäki is in the works with the first financial support from the South Bothnia Council. First winter shooting has been completed. Tom Miller from California, USA directs.
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Interview with BBC and Voices from the IPCC Conference

Coast of Norton Sound, Alaska, USA

Coast of Norton Sound, Alaska, USA

Snowchange attended the recent Cities IPCC Conference in Alberta, Canada. This included an extensive interview with the BBC World Service, available here (at 26.40). The themes in the interview include for example the old Finnish-Karelian songs, role of Indigenous and traditional knowledge in climate change work and our re-wilding and ecological restoration work in the boreal.

The actual panel with the IPCC Conference is available as a podcast here.

Panelists, in order of appearance, included:

  1. Convener: Dr. Fred Wrona, Government of Alberta Presenters
  2. Dr. Brenda Parlee, Univerity of Alberta
  3. Dr. Tirso Gonzales, INTE-PUC
  4. Dr. Leroy Little Bear, University of Lethbridge
  5. Laura Lynes, The Rockies Institute
  6. Dr. Tero Mustonen, Snowchange Cooperative
  7. Dr. Igshaan Samuels, South African Agricultural Research Council

More information on the panel:  Multiple Evidence Based Approach to Knowledge Co-Production to Inform Decision-making Monday, March 5th, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm  A discussion to explore the challenges, opportunities, and best practices of braiding Indigenous and scientific knowledge systems to inform climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and programs, particularly as they relate to enhancing resilience of the interdependent urban and rural Indigenous populations. Panelists included representatives from the Government of Alberta, Indigenous experts from around the world, and academia. The Panel session will inform research gaps and recommendations for further work between the science, practice, and policy communities on cities and climate change.  The information will be important input for the IPCC research agenda being developed as an output for the conference. In addition, conference proceedings will also be published that will include contributions from the session.

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Co-Management Efforts Expand Significantly in Näätämö Watershed, Finland

Work team restoring habitat on Kirakkakoski.

Work team restoring habitat on Kirakkakoski.

This unique Indigenous-led climate change work has received significant new support. From 2018-2019, actions will be expanded on all fronts. In December 2017, the Kone Foundation in Helsinki, Finland, provided a grant of approximately 680.000 euros. A major part of the grant will support the co-management work as part of a larger initiative/grant to support Sámi communities in the region.

Skolt Sámi Pauliina Feodoroff leads this project, whilst the Snowchange Co-op is responsible for the scientific and ecological restoration aspects of the work. In short, new support from the Kone Foundation will enable:

  • Restoration of all of Vainosjoki river area (which has been heavily altered) using renewed spawning areas and juvenile trout and grayling habitats;
  • Start of the restoration of the altered Kuosnijoki sub-catchment area;
  • Start of the restoration of the altered Lake Sevettijärvi, a central water body for the village of Sevettijärvi, the home area of the Skolt Sámi;
  • Expansion of Sámi and scientific monitoring regarding the health and status of the Näätämö river;
  • Development of Indigenous-led “Living Maps” of past land uses and traditional culture;
  • a Documentary film;
  • Several regional workshops and conferences, including the Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions in Torneå, Finland, September 2018;
  • Local employment of the Skolt Sámi in actual restoration projects, contributing to self-esteem, Indigenous pride, empowerment of women and support for the Skolt Sámi language and ways of life;
  • Producing a global model of Indigenous-led actions that can address climate change in reality and on the ground, led by the people for the people.

Restoration and catchment area maps.

Restoration and catchment area maps.

Co-management efforts in the Näätämö/Neiden watershed started in 2011, when the Indigenous Skolt Sámi and Snowchange Co-op initiated research and actions to combat the negative impacts of climate change. A central concern for the Indigenous Sámi was the fate and survival of Atlantic salmon in the context of drastic changes underway in the Arctic and their local impacts.

Between 2011-2017, baselines of change, community-based monitoring and scientific analysis led to a realisation that the restoration of altered sub-catchment areas and ‘lost’ spawning sites would provide a central answer to mitigating the impacts of climactic changes. The Sámi felt that by providing safe havens and renewed space and sites for the salmon, trout, grayling and other cold water fish across the catchment area, they would have a better chance of adapting positively to shifts in the river system.

IMG_4011In summer 2017 the very first ecological restoration led both by Sámi indigenous knowledge and science took place. The spawning areas of Kirakkakoski rapids as well as the Vainosjoki altered stream were partly restored. In October 2017 community-based monitoring reported that trout had returned to spawn at restored sites on Kirakkakoski rapids.

The Näätämö Co-Management Project has also gained significant international and scholarly attention. It has been featured in the Arctic Resilience Report, Science journal, Biological Reviews as well as media sources such as National Geographic and Take Part. A central feature of these news stories and scientific articles has been the fact that Sámi themselves are taking meaningful action on climate change using their own knowledge, as well as science, with concrete results.

The Näätämö work has provided a new analytical window through which to view and respond to Northern climate change – by addressing the damages of the past century the future decades will be more resilient, both for the people and for the ecosystems.

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