Representatives of more than 50 U.S. tribes gather for climate conference
This week, representatives of more than 50 Native American tribes met in Arizona for a first-ever tribal climate-change conference. The crisis is hitting home on U.S. reservations, as species migrate and weather patterns change. “We basically have two seasons now,” said Robert Gomez of the Taos Pueblo reservation in New Mexico. “Hot and dry, and cold and dry.” With reservation boundaries fixed, options are limited: “As our [plant and animal] species migrate off, we don’t have the right to follow them,” says Terry Williams, natural resources commissioner for the Tulalip tribes. To cope, many tribes are exploring the energy-efficient ways of their ancestors and today’s alternative-energy technologies. “We’re all singing the same song,” said Colin Soto, spokesperson for the Cocopah Tribe, which organized the meeting. “We’re trying to tell the rest of the world, ‘Look, we’re seeing these things, and you’re not doing anything about it.'” To which the world will no doubt reply: Yeah, and?