World Cultures eJournal
The Moon Makes Yams Grow: Tongans (Polynesians) and Nature
- Author(s): Bennardo, Giovanni
- et al.
Local populations perceive a number of changes in their environment due to climate change and explain them using the knowledge they have and the beliefs they hold about their world; a Cultural Model (CM) of Nature. This CM is a major component of local knowledge and it plays a fundamental role in the perception and interpretation of any phenomena related to changes in the environment, including climate change. This work is about the preliminary results from the analyses conducted on data collected in the Kingdom of Tonga, Polynesia, in search of a Tongan CM of Nature. Tongan communities are deeply affected by changes in the climate such as weather unpredictability (including increasing number of typhoons and length and occurrence of dry and wet seasons), the raising level of the ocean waters, and the variability of fish supplies.