Despite the fact indigenous peoples make up around 15 percent of the world’s extreme poor and just five percent of the global population, they are protecting 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity, according to data cited in Australia’s newly released 2021 State of the Environment report. This highlights how indigenous communities have mastered how to live alongside nature in a way that other communities have not.
The report, released Tuesday, had a greater focus on indigenous heritage and inclusion this year, highlighting how the country’s policies currently fail to recognise the value of indigenous knowledge, particularly when applying that wisdom to deliver outcomes on climate change mitigation. The writers state: “Any targets for reduced emissions and achievable timeframes could potentially be enhanced with traditional ecological knowledge. Shifting the tipping point globally is just as much a local government matter as it is for a higher jurisdictional decision-making authority: it is everyone’s business. Engaging First Nations people as equal stakeholders in the development of climate change and emissions target plans will include the Indigenous voice.”
The report detailed a rough state of affairs in Australia, highlighting among other findings, how more than 100 species have been listed extinct or extinct in the wild, ocean acidification has worsened and marine heatwaves have caused mass coral bleaching.