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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

A First Nations approach to addressing climate change—Assessing interrelated key values to identify and address adaptive management for country


The Yuku-Baja-Muliku (YBM) people are the Traditional Owners (First Nation People) of the land and sea country around Archer Point, in North Queensland, Australia. Our people are increasingly recognizing climate-driven changes to our cultural values and how these impact on the timing of events mapped to our traditional seasonal calendar. We invited the developers of the Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI) to our country in Far North Queensland with the aim to investigate the application of the CVI concept to assess impacts of climate change upon some of our key values. The project was the first attempt in Australia to trial the CVI process with First Nations people. By working with climate change scientists, we were able to develop a process that is Traditional Owner-centric and places our values, risk assessment, and risk mitigation and management within an established climate change assessment framework (the CVI framework). Various lessons for potential use of the CVI by other First Nation communities are outlined.

Note: The authors on this paper all worked together to tell the project from a first-person narrative, which was the lead author’s voice.

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