Climate Justice and Climate Adaptation in California: Indigenous Community Climate Adaptation Leadership and Opportunities for Scientific Collaboration

Deniss J. Martinez, Alison M. Meadow, Beth Rose Middleton Manning, Julie Maldonado
Posted on: 5/29/2024 - Updated on: 5/29/2024

Posted by

CAKE Team

Published

Abstract

Climate and weather-related disasters in California illustrate the need for immediate climate change action - both mitigation to reduce impacts and adaptation to protect our communities, relatives, and the ecosystems we depend upon. Indigenous frontline communities face even greater threats from climate impacts due to historical and political legacies of environmental injustice. Climate change adaptation actions have proven challenging to implement as communities struggle to access necessary climate data at appropriate scales, identify effective strategies that address community priorities, and obtain resources to act, at a whole-community level.

In this paper, we present three examples of Indigenous communities in California that have used a climate justice approach to climate change adaptation. These communities are drawing upon community knowledge and expertise to address the challenges of adaptation planning, and taking actions that center community priorities. The three cases address emergency preparation and response, cultural burning and fire management, and community organizing and social cohesion. Across these spheres, they illustrate the ways in which a community-based and climate justice-focused approach to adaptation can be effective in addressing current threats, while also addressing the legacy of imposed, socially constructed vulnerability and environmental injustices.

Because we recognize the need for multiple knowledges and skills in adaptation actions, we include recommendations that have emerged based on what’s been learned through these long-standing and engaged participatory research collaborations for climate scientists who wish to contribute to climate justice-focused adaptation efforts by using scientific data to support – not supplant – community efforts, target funding toward genuine community engagement and adaptation actions, and become aware of the historical and political legacies that created the climate vulnerabilities and injustices evident today.

Citation

Martinez, D.J., Meadow, A.M., Manning, B.R.M., Maldonado, J. (2024). Climate Justice and Climate Adaptation in California: Indigenous Community Climate Adaptation Leadership and Opportunities for Scientific Collaboration. American Meteorological Society. https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-23-0112.1.

Affiliated Organizations

American Meteorological Society

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