With Indigenous community-based climate monitoring, communities self-determine what is monitored, where and how, and participate in the data collection, analysis, and mobilization of knowledge gained. The monitoring approach followed can take many different forms and may span a continuum of participation by community members1. It can involve tracking changes to weather and climate variables as well as the impact of climate change on the land, waters, plants, and animals. Each project is unique to the ecosystem and priorities of the community. Visit the Map of Indigenous Climate Monitoring Projects to learn more about projects across Canada.
Many Indigenous organizations undertake climate monitoring initiatives at various scales, including Indigenous governments, tribal councils, treaty organizations, multi-community organizations, and individuals. In this Toolkit, the term “community” is meant to be inclusive of any Indigenous organization leading a climate monitoring project.
Why is monitoring climate change important?
Weather patterns and the climate are changing with temperature rising much more quickly than expected over the past 150 years. Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average, while in northern Canada warming is almost three times as fast3. Climate change is having a significant impact on Indigenous traditional territories across Canada which is changing the availability and health of culturally significant species such as caribou and salmon, frequency and severity of forest fires and floods, and seasonal ice conditions, among many other impacts.
Climate information gathered through monitoring projects can help communities develop strategies to adapt to the changing conditions and to better manage environmental resources. Sharing their data, as they self-determine, can also improve understanding of the changing environment across broader regions and scales.
Tsay Key Dene and Tagish Nations
Watch this video from Tsay Key Dene and Carcross Tagish Nations to hear a description of climate change, the benefits of community-based monitoring, and impacts of climate change in their territory.
Danielson, F. et al 2009. Local Participation in Natural Resource Monitoring: a Characterization of Approaches. Conservation Biology 23:1,31-42. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01063.x
Graphic from National Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Symposium. 2017. Winnipeg. Graphic Recorder: Tracey Levasseur
Bush, E. and Lemmen, D.S., editors. 2019. Canada’s Changing Climate Report. Government of Canada. Ottawa, ON. 444 p. Available at: https://changingclimate.ca/CCCR2019/