Southwest Tribes Struggle With Climate Change Fallout –

* Note: Climate change is REAL. Despite what the paranoid conspiracy kooks like Alex Jones are telling you. Education and action are the key!
If you like scary, suspense-filled stories and will get the chance to read only one book this fall … may we suggest the spine-tingling Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States? Would that it were fiction. Climate change effects are so entrenched that the best strategy is a two-pronged approach: Adapt while trying to mitigate.

This was the crux of the soon-to-be-published 800-page report, whose Cliff Notes–style synopsis, “Summary for Decision Makers,” was released this week in Tucson, Arizona, during the Southwest Climate Summit at the Southwest Climate Science Center of the University of Arizona.


“We need to be worried about climate change because it’s clearly already affecting our region in ways that impact many areas—we’re seeing landscapes burning, dying because of heat and dryness,” lead author Jonathan Overpeck, of the Southwest Climate Science Center, told Indian Country Today Media Network. “We’re seeing reservoirs that were full just ten years ago now only half full on the Colorado. These are visible harbingers of what might come. What we need to do as a society is talk about it and figure out how to deal with these challenges.”

Overpeck, a nationally known environmental scientist, acknowledged that although solutions are possible, “the job of scientists is not to say what to do, but provide guidance for decision-making—climate mitigation by figuring out strategies that allow us to get by with less water or better manage our landscape vegetation—trying to slow down the problems while adapting to the changes.”

Featuring editorial contributions from 120 authors representing various areas of environmental expertise, the report focuses on the six states in the Southwestern U.S. (Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico), which are “considered to be one of the most ‘climate-challenged’ regions of North America,” according to the summary.

Nearly 150 participants, including resource and environmental managers from several tribal entities, spent two days discussing environmental history, current status and future predictions. Funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, tribal representation attended from the Hopi, San Carlos Apache, White Mountain Apache, Gila River Indian Community, Pascua Yaqui, and Tohono O’odham of Arizona, as well as New Mexico’s Pueblo of Nambe and the Shivwits Band of Paiutes in southwest Utah.

The changes discussed by Overpeck during his ominous-sounding presentation are quite evident on Native lands.

“Our 30,000-acre reservation is pretty dry because of drought,” said Lawrence Snow, Land Resources Manager for Utah’s Shivwits Band of Paiutes. “Wildfires in the last decade have burned half our acreage and changed the landscape. We’ve got less trees, and bark beetles are trying to kill off the ones we do have. Once the fires happened and took out the ground cover, major storms brought big flooding. Seasons have changed; winter hangs around now until May. It’s weird the way the weather is changing.”

Delegate Francie Spencer of Arizona’s San Carlos Apache Tribe, who works in economic development, concurred.

“Our existence is still based on practices rooted in the land,” Spencer said. “There’s a water shortage across the reservation and because cattle are still one of our top economic drivers, without water, our stock numbers have been reduced. Unwanted nuisance vegetation along our rivers has been brought here by climate change. And we don’t have a lot of scientists to help us.”

FULL ARTICLE HERE: Southwest Tribes Struggle With Climate Change Fallout –

About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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