Environment | Opinion

Karen Diver & Reggie Joule: Tribes take action on climate change

Karen Diver. Photo from University of Minnesota

Karen Diver, the chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota, and Reggie Joule, an Inupiat man who serves as mayor of the Northwest Arctic Borough in Alaska, discuss their work on the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience:
Tribes and Alaska Native Villages feel the brunt of a changing climate in direct and significant ways that undermine their cultures, economies, and the overall general welfare of their citizens. Unfortunately, they are too frequently left out of Federal and state climate preparedness and resilience efforts, both in terms of planning and disaster response. And they generally lack sufficient governmental capacity and financial resources to prepare for and respond to major climate-related events on their own.

These are the overriding messages we heard from tribal leaders across the country while serving on the President’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Hundreds of tribal leaders provided their input and recommendations through a number of listening sessions, webinars and questionnaires. These outreach efforts were facilitated by the fine network of Federal agency tribal liaisons.

Reggie Joule, Photo from Northwest Arctic Borough
We are extremely pleased that the Task Force acknowledged a wide range of tribal needs and recommendations in its report submitted to President Obama on November 17. Early on in the process, it became clear that responding to climate change has to be a shared responsibility that shouldn't be constrained by our respective political boundaries, geographical locations or cultures. The report reflects the Task Force’s collegial efforts to find common ground, mutual interests and consensus solutions to the challenges that tribal, state and local governments face in preparing for climate change.

Get the Story:
Karen Diver and Reggie Joule: Tribal Leaders: It's Time to Bolster Native Community Climate Resilience (The White House Blog 12/3)

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White House recognizes two tribes as Climate Action Champions (12/4)

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