Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples
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Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples

The Search for Legal Remedies

Edited by Randall S. Abate and Elizabeth Ann Kronk

Indigenous peoples occupy a unique niche within the climate justice movement, as many indigenous communities live subsistence lifestyles that are severely disrupted by the effects of climate change. Additionally, in many parts of the world, domestic law is applied differently to indigenous peoples than it is to their non-indigenous peers, further complicating the quest for legal remedies. The contributors to this book bring a range of expert legal perspectives to this complex discussion, offering both a comprehensive explanation of climate change-related problems faced by indigenous communities and a breakdown of various real world attempts to devise workable legal solutions. Regions covered include North and South America (Brazil, Canada, the US and the Arctic), the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Tuvalu and the Federated States of Micronesia), Australia and New Zealand, Asia (China and Nepal) and Africa (Kenya).
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Chapter 24: Climate change, law and indigenous peoples in Kenya: Ogiek and Maasai narratives

The Search for Legal Remedies

Patricia Kameri-Mbote and Elvin Nyukuri


Indigenous peoples’ strong connection to the land, together with the ongoing climate change debate, prompts analysis of their increased vulnerability and ability to respond to climate change. The ability of indigenous people to respond is widely recognized to be dependent on several factors, such as cultural identity, livelihood, sense of place, security, visions for the future and aspects of governance, all of which have a long history. Indigenous peoples’ lives are a chronicle of their struggles to sustain their livelihood in fast-changing ecological, economic and political contexts coupled with the quest of their nation states’ to change their ways of life. The literature analyzing vulnerability to climate change has focused largely on bio-physical and economic impacts and contextual factors. There have been very few studies on the adequacy of laws and policies to address indigenous peoples’ vulnerability to climate change. Yet it is evident that climate variability and change do not occur in a vacuum but in the context of political, institutional, economic and social structures in a society which is subject to laws and policies.

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