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Climate Science Alliance proud to be part of 2017 Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit

On September 19-21, the Climate Science Alliance co-hosted the 2017 Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit with the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, and the University of San Diego's Climate Education Partners. We were pleased to have been invited to collaborate on such an important and powerful event. We had 190 attendees representing 48 tribes join us from across the southwest for three days of sharing knowledge and experiences on climate change impacts and solutions in the southwest.

The conference opened with a blessing from Selso Villegas from the Tohono O’odham Nation. Following a welcome by the Summit planning team and a keynote by Juana Majel-Dixon from the Pauma-Yuima Band of Mission Indians, attendees split up into interactive panel discussion sessions. These panels included a unique blend of Western science perspectives, tribal perspectives, and case study experiences with time for discussions amongst presenters and the audience. Topics covered ranged from food security to financing, communication to impacts on natural resources including drought and fire. If you weren’t able to catch all the sessions, we partnered with graphic recorders from MIG to create beautiful and informative hand drawn graphics that captured key points from each panel. You can find the graphic notes here. Day 1 wrapped up with 20 local organizations participating in a Climate Cafe and Evening Reception, which allowed for networking amongst attendees.

After inspiring keynote speeches from Cynthia Gomez with the Governor’s Office, Gillian Hayes with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Adrian Herder from the Navajo Nation, and high school students from the Salish Kootenai Tribe on the morning of Day 2, we headed out to the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge/ Living coast Discovery Center for a fun filled field trip. Attendees rotated through three field trip stations on Drought and Fire, Native Plants and Pollinators, and Sea Level Rise where they learned about these topics in the context of a changing climate and participated in hands on activities. Special thanks to our partners at the Living Coast Discovery Center and US Fish and Wildlife Service for collaborating with us to create an exceptional field trip experience.

The Summit concluded on Day 3 with a Community Forum and Tribal Leadership panel. We are so inspired by the thoughtful comments and concerns shared by all the summit participants and grateful for the tribal leaders that provided valuable insight on tribal experiences with climate change impacts and solutions. We look forward to seeing what climate actions come out of this fun and inspiring event.

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