© Gleb Raygorodetsky 

Despite growing evidence, there are still climate change deniers refusing to believe that extreme weather conditions, retreating glaciers and rising sea levels are a reality. However, according to Gleb Raygorodetsky author of Archipelago of Hope, indigenous communities from around the globe, communities that have contributed very little to the destruction are the most environmentally and socially affected by climate change. For them climate change isn’t a question of if and when, it is a growing reality forcing them to adapt in order to survive.

With over two decades of experience working with Indigenous communities and climate change adaptation, author and biocultural diversity expert Gleb Raygorodetsky set out on a mission. Six years ago, Raygorodetsky began raising awareness of the plight of indigenous communities. He wants the world to learn from their extraordinary tale of resilience to climate change. Indigenous communities comprise merely of four percent of the world’s population, but cover 22 percent of the earth’s land surface, which support 80 percent of our existing biodiversity.

What began as an international dialogue has blossomed into an ongoing project that will be published in his upcoming book, Archipelago of Hope. The book is a compilation of stories of Indigenous experience in the face of climate change. It makes the case that amidst the constant push towards development and urbanization, these islands of biological and cultural diversity, the Indigenous communities, represent the archipelago of hope. It is in them that lies humankind’s best chance of learning to care for the earth in a way to ensure its healthy survival for future generations. Even though these stories are culturally and ecologically specific, their adaptation methods are relevant to the rest of the world. Raygorodetsky says Indigenous people can help guide the climate change debate through their direct experience and support bureaucratic decision makers lacking traditional knowledge.

To complete the book, Raygorodetsky has to visit four more communities. To get there, he has launched a crowdfunding campaign. This campaign is open until September 28, so far he’s reached 11 percent of his goal. Any funds raised beyond his goal will go towards supporting the communities he’s working with. Through crowdfunding he hopes to reach a wider audience and involve more people in his quest to have the world understand Indigenous worldviews, of the earth being a living being and not a commodity. 

For more information follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.

Naomi Roy is an artist and a fourth year Planning student at the University of Waterloo. 

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