Living Labs for Climate Change Dialogue

In this session we want to convene a group interested in establishing a network of Living Labs for Climate Change in order to promote cooperation among indigenous and traditional communities and mobilize the tools and support such a network. Please read on and if the idea of being involved in the development of a proposal to implement a network of Living Labs of Climate Change interests you or your organization please join us for a dialogue on moving a proposal forward.

Living laboratories of climate change and adaptation are envisioned as a sustainable mechanism through which traditional knowledge and conventional western science can engage equitably in dialogic and mutual learning aimed toward the benefit of communities affected by the impacts of climate change.This initiative will be a collaborative effort to combat climate change throughout the utilization of the Living Lab approach of the Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessments (www.ipcca.info) and the Biocultural Territory concept, providing indigenous and traditional peoples with a powerful tool to cooperatively test, learn, discover, teach, apply, and share the outcomes of our inquiries on climate change and advance sustainability and resilience of their nations. Also the network of Living Labs can become an important policy tool for maximizing the potential contribution of indigenous and traditional knowledge towards meeting the challenge of Climate Change in a broad range of areas from energy efficiency to sustainable agriculture, and food sovereignty, thus promoting social innovation together with traditional and new technologies to support it.

Climate is one of the key issues of our times, bringing together concerns about human relations to nature, the responsibility of rich nations to poorer ones, the links from local activities to global conditions, as well as the obligations of present to future generations. Current understanding of how environmental tipping points work, management responses to large scale changes, couple with the unprecedented complexity of the problem and the inability of science to accurately predict the rate and levels of change in the global climatic system. Improved understanding requires new frameworks that creatively use science and traditional knowledge for managing and monitoring changes occurring in fragile ecosystems and promotes linkage between local and global action. Although it is recognized that indigenous and traditional peoples are vulnerable to climate change, and are currently facing the most severe impacts, including food scarcity and relocation of entire communities, their ecosystems and knowledge systems can hold the key to creative solutions for adaptation and mitigation responses.

Heightened exposure of their landscapes to negative impacts, strong resilience and a rich traditional knowledge has made indigenous and traditional communities, and their territories “Living Labs of Climate Change and Adaptation”. There is, therefore, an opportunity to use these areas to understand and monitor how current and projected levels of exposure to climate-related sensitivities, as well as limits and restrictions to adaptive capacity, are affecting critical ecosystems and vulnerable peoples. These Living Labs will provide an ongoing record of the climatological, ecological and cultural dynamics involved in adaptation built on sharing across traditional knowledge, science and social science and will be a method through which local students can, under the collaborative guidance of elders and research scientists incorporate their empirical knowledge in their own research and extension projects, designed to generate the evidence needed to direct climate change adaptation policy and practice in ways that serve their communities and regions. Living Labs can help the long-term monitoring of how modifying factors influence large-scale climatic gradients and the mosaic of environmental stress on food systems. They can also help understand how changes in the mean and variability in climatic regimes, as modified by local and regional factors, can lead to complex patterns of species distribution and range shifts which are affecting food production.

The Living Labs project will ultimately be used as a transversal tool for promoting new models of food security, sustainable livelihoods and holistic development in the face of Climate Change. The sharing of concepts, terms and methods arising from traditional knowledge and experiences require non-mainstream approaches to learning. Accordingly, we envisage the network as a “Contact Learning Zone” which will allow historically separated peoples to establish on-going relations, and create a democratic space of intercultural practice in which they can inquire and learn together, through participatory knowledge discovery, and the fostering of interdependent horizontal networking.

Partners:
CEESP Theme on Culture and Conservation
Associcion ANDES
Indigenous Peoples' Climate Change Assessment Initiative (IPCCA)

Geographical scope:

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