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Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Let's Not Reinvent the Wheel

For my first blog post for Hepler Law & Consulting, I wanted to highlight an article I published with a mentor in law school about traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and climate change adaptation. It may be clear how the topic relates to conservation law. But, how does TEK relate to your business or real estate "issue"? Simply put: Answers to big issues have been deeply considered by others who have been immersed in the environments where those very issue are created.

I helped write this article because I am passionate about our environment and I believe that indigenous nations offer thousands of years' worth of wisdom to help us adapt to a changing planet. It is one of my passions, and I plan to promote the adoption of TEK. However, it is applicable to you, because my job is to research the unique answers to your issue in our collective knowledge, like TEK, to help you achieve wise growth. Will I be researching TEK for your specific issue? Probably not. But, I am motivated by humanity's ability to think critically and deeply and to offer a plethora of answers for generations to come. I am here to help you find answers for your particular situation.

Now, here is a summary of that article, with a link for you to read the whole thing:

In the article Utah Law School's Dean, Elizabeth Kronk-Warner, and I wrote, Learning From Tribal Innovations: Lessons in Climate Change Adaptation, published in the Environmental Law Reporter, we propose that indigenous nations have paved the way for climate change strategies, which sovereigns can effectively implement as part of their environmental efforts.

Although a vast literature focuses on the efforts of states on climate change, they are not the only sovereigns who are working to address its negative impacts. This article argues that though tribal governments are not part of the federalist system, they are still capable of regulatory innovation that may prove helpful to other sovereigns, such as other tribes, states, and the federal government. It examines the steps tribes are taking on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and demonstrates that tribal climate change adaptation planning is truly innovative in notable ways when compared to state planning. First, the inclusion of TEK is unique to tribes and can prove quite beneficial. Tribes also involve their communities by surveying and involving community members in the implementation phase. Further, tribal adaptation plans promote the preservation of cultural resources. Other sovereigns would do well to learn from how tribes are providing valuable paths forward to develop effective climate adaptation measures.

You may find the full article at

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