Turning science on its head: putting Indigenous knowledge first in climate change research

2019 May 13

Ford, J.D. (2019) Turning science on its head – putting Indigenous knowledge first in climate change research. Nature Climate Change – Behind the Paper: article online.


“Can we trust Indigenous knowledge?”

It’s a question I am often asked by my natural science colleagues when reviewing evidence of climate change and the impacts it’s having.

“It’s just anecdotal, right?”

Actually …. no, it’s a complex and detailed body of knowledge acquired through repeated observation, experience, and reflection accumulated over generations.

“But we can’t trust it to the same degree as science.”

Well, if you go to the Arctic and have the opportunity to travel on the sea ice, who would you rather go with, an elder well-respected for their Indigenous knowledge or a scientist with multiple publications in Nature? When put this way, and ‘trust’ suddenly comes down to personal safety, people have a lot more faith in Indigenous knowledge!


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