ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Using the Community Capitals Framework to Integrate Tradition Indigenous Knowledge into Local Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change

Edith Fernandez-Baca, Mary Emery, Isabel Gutierrez-Montes, Meredith Redlin

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 9 - Law Building, Room 102
Date: 2012-07-10 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2012-06-04


Current research has documented that indigenous people and their communities are more strongly impacted by climate change. To address these impacts, native people often rely on traditional indigenous knowledge (TIK) to mitigate these changes or to adapt to new circumstances. TIK frameworks rarely fit well into the more linear and positivist approaches associated with Western Science. TIK, in contrast, is often described as having a global perspective more compatible with emerging systems thinking approaches. The Community Capitals Framework, developed from research on sustainable community change, offers a method for examining system change, especially in mapping the multidimensional changes that occur in physical, natural and human systems impacted by climate change. The concept of community capitals provides a useful framework for identifying the diverse resources and activities that make up a local economy, social system, and ecosystem and provides a systematic framework for identifying asset flows and opportunities to recombine assets in the face of change.
In this paper, we present three case studies from Alaska, the Caribbean and the Andes that demonstrate how the CCF can be applied to the study of role of TIK in addressing climate change. The CCF can broaden the vision towards working with community resources (not just family or individual resources), taking into account all types of capitals, not just natural and financial, to develop local strategies to cope, adapt and reduce vulnerability to extreme climatic events.