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Life in the Cyclic World Report Released: Traditional Knowledge Compendium from Eurasia

Fish of Kolyma, drying. Snowchange, 2016

Fish of Kolyma, drying. Snowchange, 2016

Life in the Cyclic World has been in the making for a decade. It is based on the collected, analyzed and assessed traditional ecological knowledge for the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment of the Arctic Council. Between 2012 and 2016 the authors and the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna – CAFF, one of the Council’s working groups, exchanged drafts and versions to release this document as a Compendium. However this plan did not materialize and Snowchange Co-op publishes now these materials independently.

These materials are made available as originally planned, and cleared by the involved Indigenous organisations, communities, families and individuals. We hope this document will be of use in the understanding and discussions regarding Eurasian Arctic biodiversity and Indigenous peoples.

Vilen passing the fish on Cahigurginoo fish camp, Kolyma, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

Vilen passing the fish on Cahigurginoo fish camp, Kolyma, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

The TEK materials that have been included in this document come from the oral histories of the Indigenous communities in Sweden, Finland and Russia. There are some North American Indigenous materials in the first part of the document to position and offer scope to the discussions that follow.

A large body of the present volume is derived from the Snowchange oral history archival materials. All have been published before in scientific monographs, articles, community reports, books and other publicly available materials. All oral histories and Snowchange traditional materials that have been used have been discussed with the representatives of the Indigenous communities and organisations involved in a process that has lasted a decade.  The principles of Free, Prior, Informed consent – FPIC have been followed to the fullest when possible. Materials have been included from the oral history archives of the Snowchange Cooperative and a literature review. Main focus of the materials is 1999-2010.

Reindeer is forever. Snowchange, 2016

Reindeer is forever. Snowchange, 2016

Part 1 of the Compendium is a much-needed overview of the traditional knowledge and biodiversity of the Indigenous peoples of the Eurasian North. It includes reflections on the socio-ecological systems of the Indigenous Nations of this region. Questions of traditional customary systems, oral histories and governance are included. Critical examination of overharvests and their historical context is analyzed.

Lena Pillars, Sakha-Yakutia, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

Lena Pillars, Sakha-Yakutia, Russia. Snowchange, 2016

Part 2 includes an extensive description of the shifts and imposed changes of the region from late 1800s to the 2010s. Special focus includes oil and gas development, modernity, hydropower and forestry, mining, nature conservation, oceans, rivers, lakes and fisheries, mammals and birds. In the conclusions an initiative of nomadic schools for Siberia is proposed as one of the mechanisms to preserve traditional knowledge and communities on the land.

The Report is available here as a PDF.

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Neil Young to Invite Snowchange on the Upcoming Concert to Helsinki in July

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, 2016.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, 2016.

Neil Young with his new band, the Promise of the Real, arrives in Helsinki 3rd July, 2016. He has invited the Finnish Snowchange Cooperative to join the event as a partner.

Representatives of mr. Young say: “As a way to illuminate issues Neil Young addresses on his new album The Monsanto Years, he’s invited a number of respected local and international organizations to join him on tour.  As members of Neil’s ‘Global Village’, each organization will have a booth and the opportunity to share information about their projects with Neil’s fans before the show. The Monsanto Years album has the reoccurring theme of sustainable farming, yet it also addresses a wide range of environmental and human rights issues like climate change, corporate accountability, social justice, renewable energy, ocean conservation, endangered species and more. Attending fans will have the opportunity to talk with organization representatives to learn valuable information about the most pressing ecological and social issues facing our planet today. Snowchange Co-op is a good partner in achieving this.

Tero Mustonen from Snowchange adds: “When the proposal for this cooperation came from the Neil Young HQ, it seemed natural and dignified. Young is a musician with a long career, he is much respected and his judgment appreciated. The situation in Finland requires new positive solutions, much in line of what mr. Young sings and talks about. We need to take care of our nature, by conserving the last intact marsh mires and old-growth boreal forests, by supporting the Indigenous Sámi people, and their rights and culture as well as supporting our traditional professional fishermen. ‘Jukajoki’, a US film documenting our efforts in revitalizing watersheds in North Karelia in the villages of Selkie and Alavi, is currently being shown in different parts of the world. It is a very positive view on the things we need to do. Additionally the efforts with the Indigenous Skolt Sámi in Näätämö river as well as the work with the Siberian nomadic Chukchi reindeer herders in mitigating climate change support mr. Young’s vision of how we all survive the 21st Century. We need to do new things with new courage, leaving past damages behind. Keep on Rocking in the Free World!”

Previously Snowchange has collaborated for example with Grammy-winning musicians Tinariwen, as well as Kimmo Pohjonen and Jukka Takalo in Finland.

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A Major Community – Based Monitoring Report Out with Snowchange

iceland seal hunt

iceland seal hunt

A new report, “Community-Based Monitoring and Indigenous Knowledge in a Changing Arctic: A Review for the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks”, is out today. It features several Snowchange -related and -coordinated projects across the Arctic, from Sámi communities to the Siberian partners.

This review of community-based monitoring (CBM) in a changing Arctic is based on a multi-year initiative launched in 2012 as a task under the “Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks” (SAON), a network of Arctic observing networks. The goal of the task was to better understand the current state of CBM in the Arctic, with a particular interest in monitoring and observing based on Indigenous Knowledge (IK), and to make recommendations to SAON and the Arctic observing community more broadly about how to support engagement and development of CBM.

The report is available here.

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New Snowchange news article in CBD

45 Mission Beach Cassowary, J DELAINE (2)Square brackets, the journal of CBD, has published a Snowchange -related article on terminologies of biodiversity. It is available here.

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Major new website on Ecological Restoration and Traditional Knowledge released

Water measurements in Jukajoki area in 2013. Snowchange, 2015

Water measurements in Jukajoki area in 2013. Snowchange, 2015

Something very positive has emerged in the context of ecological restoration in the North. A US film and research company has been working with Snowchange over the past 2,5 years to develop ground-breaking documentary films on community-led ecological restoration and traditional knowledge work. 

Our basin, Jukajoki, here in Finnish village of Selkie village is one of the main topics for this process. Now the first documentary film, titled “Jukajoki“, has been released.  More importantly for today, the online case study, combining high quality videos, traditional knowledge, science and restoration results, is now out.

Through an interactive web experience, discover how communities in the Caribbean and Finland are finding solutions to the greatest challenge of our time: climate change.

Start Exploring!

The OPOE case studies provide practical insights for policymakers, practitioners and local communities on how to support and engage in community-based climate action. They also highlight the important role that community empowerment and traditional knowledge play in implementing climate mitigation and adaptation solutions.

Explore how the villages of Selkie and Alavi came together to create an innovative governance model for watershed restoration in North Karelia, Finland.

The idea of creating case studies on community-based climate action evolved out of the OPOE initiative to better understand what inspires and fuels communities to take action on climate change.

Tired from the persistent narrative of fear and inaction that surrounds climate change, we tell the stories of communities working to leave a legacy of resilience. To inspire action we sought out a novel approach to telling the human stories of climate change. Based on sound and rigorous research, and storytelling that is grounded in lived experience, each case study includes a suite of multi-media assets that provide a direct link to the people and perspectives that are driving these community-based climate actions.

Our experience shows us that climate action is ultimately a trans-disciplinary challenge, one that requires inspiration across sectors and between locations. The OPOE case studies provide practical examples of community-based climate action and complement the personal and inspiring stories that are shared in our documentary films.

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