Wisdom of Elders Better Than Science or the Internet: “They Still Know How to Cook Mammoth”
Petr Kaurgin, a Chukchi reindeer herder from Siberia. Photo: Citt Williams
by Stephen Leahy
“Our elders are the best source of information. Better than science or the internet,” said Petr Kaurgin, a Chukchi reindeer herder from the remote Turvaurgin nomadic tribal community in north-eastern Siberia.
Kaurgin delivered his message to climate scientists from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other Indigenous peoples at the closing of the Climate Change Mitigation with Local Communities and Indigenous peoples workshop here in Cairns, Australia.
“We need to listen to the wisdom of the elders. We can use everything in nature. But we must not break or destroy things, ” he said through a translator.
It was -45C when Kaurgin left his home to bring his people’s message to climate experts here in the hot, wet tropical part of Australia. The IPCC is the world authority on the science of climate change. And along with the United Nations University (UNU) organized the workshop to figure out how to incorporate Indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge.
“When we love the land where we live only then we are happy,” he said.
Kaurgin’s people and other local Siberian communities have been experiencing the impacts of climate change such as melting permafrost for the last 20 years said Tero Mustonen, Head of the Village of Selkie in North Karelia, Finland.
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