Kasey Dresser| January 21, 2019
This weeks segment looks at the averse affects of climate change on Native American reservations.
Native Americans are among the most vulnerable groups affected by climate change, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment.
This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
Of the five-point-five million registered Native Americans, about one million of them live on or around reservations dotted throughout the country. Native Americans have long fought against unjust laws, practices, and stereotypes embedded in our society, but climate change poses another risk to many natural resources used by these communities.
In the southwest, heat spikes bring parched terrain, which then fails to properly absorb vast amounts of precipitation leading to flash-flooding. Warmer winters have lengthened the lives of deer ticks and other parasites, leading to a shortage of moose and other game that many Midwestern tribes rely on for food.
When reservation property is damaged and when precious resources dwindle, there is little that most of these communities can do to reverse the negative effects of climate change on their land. Native Americans are already at a significantly higher risk for depression, alcoholism, and unemployment than many other demographics, and a blow to their land and resources will only increase that divide unless they receive the help and tools they need to battle against these changes.
For more information, visit iowa-environmental-focus dot org.
From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Sara E. Mason.