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Climate change and environmental degradation are ‘social justice issues’ in Indigenous communities, experts say by Anya Zoledziowski September 12,2018   |  Source: StarMetro Calgary

Chantal Chagnon, a Cree social justice activist, has seen first-hand how Alberta’s climate has changed rapidly, and she said it’s affecting Indigenous ways of life.

And she’s not alone in her assessment.

According to multiple experts and activists, resource extraction and pollution have drastically altered the province’s waterways and forests, putting a strain on Indigenous practices, such as hunting, fishing and trapping.

Chagnon pointed to southern Alberta’s 2013 flooding as evidence that natural disasters affect Indigenous communities particularly hard.

“Siksika is still recovering from the flood … it’s crazy,” Chagnon said. “They still have damaged buildings up in Morley because of the flood, they still have buildings that have black mould in them.”

“We’re seeing this polarization of our weather patterns around the globe and it’s definitely reflected in (Alberta) in a big way,” she added.

According to academics and activists, climate change and Alberta’s ongoing reliance on resource extraction threaten physical, cultural and spiritual ways of life in Indigenous communities. This reality has led to a chorus of voices saying Canadians should view environmental issues as social justice matters.

“The people who are most at

 

© Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 1996 - 2018

Theme(s): Communities and Organisations.

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