Dialogue between locals, scientists and governments tackles climate change

December 01, 2019

Modern way of life, global urbanization and industrialization have led to serious environmental problems. An increase in average annual temperature causes the melting of glaciers and an increase in the level of the World Ocean, which changes the mode of precipitation and the amount of natural disasters. These problems threaten serious consequences not only for the species of animals and plants (primarily of the northern regions), but will also dreadfully affect the habitual activities of local residents. The disturbed water regime leads to the swamping of lakes and the conversion of grasslands to waterbodies. Floods are occurring more often, and the cost their consequences elimination in the Irkutsk region alone in 2020 will amount to more than 40 billion rubles.

Reducing the negative effects brought about by climate change can be achieved through comprehensive measures. Their development is already underway around the world, but adaptation mechanisms at the regional level are still being formed. In this case, the experience of Arctic peoples could provide tremendous help, since the Arctic has always suffered from the effects of climate change first. For hundreds of years, the peoples of the North have been able to get used to the harsh environmental conditions, but they are not able to assess the scale of the problems associated with rapid climate change correctly. Their ethnic distinctive culture, traditional crafts, and familiar farming practices are at risk. In particular, reindeer husbandry is one of the most important components of their lifestyle. However, due to an increase in precipitation, the snow cover has become deeper. Hence, the extraction of food is now more difficult, so deer mortality has increased. Combining the unique knowledge and experience of local residents with the approach of specialists is necessary for the accelerated development of adaptation measures. A dialogue with the local administration is also needed to coordinate and consolidate these actions at the legislative level.

A communication platform is needed for the exchange of information and cooperation -- this conclusion was reached by the authors of the article. For the first time, under the auspices of the INTERACT group, a seminar "Winter Weather and Extreme Climatic Phenomena" was held in Salekhard (Russia). It was assumed that this format of the event would bring together representatives of three groups -- researchers, local residents and government officials. The main goal of the published study was to find the best ways for communication improvement and research actualization. The main result of the organized seminar was the drafting of a resolution. Particularly emphasized is the fact that the representatives of the groups have completely different ideas about the events taking place in everyday life, therefore there is a barrier of understanding that needs to be overcome with the help of such global contemporary and timely discussions. After the meeting, all three groups successfully worked together: new research and projects were launched at the Arctic Research Center. For example, scientists from Tomsk State University and the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences "registered" the Altai glaciers.

"The problems associated with climate change are acute, people with different competencies and interests should unite to find the solutions. World-class seminars will make it possible to achieve greater efficiency in implementing most of the ideas for adapting the north to future climate change," says a member of the collaboration Andrey Soromotin, director of the Institute of Ecology and Rational Use of Natural Resources of Tyumen State University, doctor of biological sciences, professor, honored ecologist of the Russian Federation, a Fellow Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Muravlenko award laureate.

University of Tyumen

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