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Let's not neglect traditional knowledge: Lecturer

Tevita Vuibau
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A European Union-funded project is looking at ways that Pacific cultures and traditional knowledge can assist with climate change adaptation for Pacific countries as part of its initiatives.

The project, titled 'Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA)' aims to foster co-operation and dialogue on climate change between the EU and poor developing countries most vulnerable to climate change.

GCCA is being implemented by the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) of the University of the South Pacific (USP) in the 15 Pacific-ACP countries including Timor Leste.

Participants at a three-week GCCA workshop in Fiji were yesterday involved in discussions on the mitigating effects of traditional knowledge on climate change.

University of the South Pacific's senior lecturer at the School of Education Teweiariki Teaero, a participant at the workshop said traditional knowledge could no longer be neglected.

"There is a whole idea that traditional knowledge is no good, that in today's society to rely on traditional knowledge is backward," Mr Teaero said.

He said however, that research had revealed that traditional knowledge had very important contributions to climate change adaptation.

"For Fijians, you have different ways of forecasting the weather from the behaviour of animals, if you see crabs behaving a certain way on the beach then you understand that something is about to happen," he said.

"Fijians even have different ways of preserving food like using the salt found in Nadroga, so you can see that you have preservation methods for bad weather and this is where traditional knowledge is so important.

"Even in the past, Fijians knew of the threats of the environment and built their homes inland and on hills to avoid tsunamis," he said.

Mr Teaero explained that by using the best traditional knowledge coupled with the best scientific knowledge, Pacific islanders could develop their resilience to climate change.





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