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Ways of Knowing: Traditional Knowledge as Key Insight for Addressing Environmental Change


All forms of knowledge – not only recent advances in weather and climate science, but also local observations and experiences in nature and oral histories, knowledge that is contextualized within cultural worldviews that promote particular ways of being in the world – may be useful in helping to conceptualize and understand changing environmental conditions and human adaptations to them. Climate change and associated shifting patterns of weather, animal, and plant life can have and is having a highly local and significant impact and adaptive burden on indigenous and local communities in particular. This special collection links articles on the theme of "Ways of Knowing," including several derived from presentations given during the Symposia on Policy and Socioeconomic Research, held at American Meteorological Society Annual Meetings beginning in 2010. These sessions focused on "Ways of Knowing" as alternative forms of knowledge that should be part of the repertoire of insight needed to address environmental variations such as climate variability and change. Social scientists and humanities scholars presented their research with Indigenous and local communities, examining their environmental knowledge, adaptive capacities and vulnerabilities. We include in this collection related work by other scholars and researchers beyond the direct participants in our AMS sessions. As with our AMS sessions, our goal with this special online collection in Weather, Climate and Society is to develop engagement on this topic in the broader climate and weather research communities and to provide a venue for social scientists to publish work at the interface between weather, climate and society.

Collection organizers:
Heather Lazrus, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Randy Peppler, University of Oklahoma

Photo Credit:
Heather Lazrus, Nanumea Atoll, Tuvalu, 2006

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