Cultural Effects of Climate Change on Indigenous Communities

Indigenous social structures are in part built around the traditions of food, spirituality, and medicine. The activities of hunting, fishing, gathering, and the fruits of this labour continue to be important components of their cultures and traditions.

Oral history and oral tradition allow common experiences to be shared and passed on through generations. Sharing customary foods through traditional ceremonies strengthens the bonds amongst families and communities. The loss of opportunities to exercise and experience cultural activities as a result of the impacts of climate change on settlement patterns, sources of food and medicines, or spiritual sites undermines Indigenous lifestyles.

This adds to the severe pressures already facing Indigenous communities as a result of their reliance on a changing environment and complex social pressures. As the environment changes as a result of climate change, Indigenous culture is also forced to change.