Seattle Times Op-Ed: Indigenous knowledge is critical to understanding climate change

© Cameron Karsten Photography The Nature Conservancy at the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, WA with Tribal member TJ

As we prepare to join Saturday’s March for Science, please understand that by integrating traditional knowledge with Western science, we can solve some of our biggest challenges, including those brought by our changing climate.

Good science is critical to our health, ability to live full lives and community well-being. We use science to advance medicine, enhance our use of natural resources, ensure our food supply and much more. That’s why more than a million people around the world joined the March for Science in 2017 and why we are gearing up again to march for science on April 14.

Western science is just one way of knowing. Indeed, traditional knowledge and wisdom of indigenous peoples is recognized by the United Nations for its potential to sustainably manage complex ecosystems. Yet all too often, Western science has disregarded centuries of science-based knowledge coming from Native Americans and other indigenous peoples.

© Cameron Karsten Photography The Nature Conservancy at the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, WA with Tribal member TJ

Indigenous peoples have lived in our particular locations for many generations, and we define ourselves in relation to our home environment. Our deep and long-standing relationships with the environment are unique; our very existence depends on our ability to conserve and maintain our lands and waters for future generations.

Today, tribes, First Nations, indigenous peoples and Aboriginals are sounding a loud alarm about the impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels, broken natural systems, and increasing fire and flooding are apparent and documented.

For example, stocks of many fish species like Pacific hake are sensitive to ocean temperature along the California Current, and recent declines in their numbers have serious implications for the well-being of my own Makah Tribe.

While others debate the causes of climate change, we who live close to the land are experiencing major impacts from our changing climate and call for immediate and strong action to protect the resources on which we all rely. We can’t afford to disregard indigenous knowledge about climate change.

© Cameron Karsten Photography The Nature Conservancy at the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, WA with Tribal member TJ

Growing up as a member of the Makah Tribe, I relied on the empirical knowledge of my ancestors to determine where to fish and how to locate other sources of food. My community relied on indigenous experiences to understand how to keep ourselves healthy.

When I was a child, my father taught me to navigate our ocean territory through currents, tides and landmarks. This knowledge, along with the life cycle of fish and time of year, allowed for the successful, sustainable harvest of species such as halibut, black cod and lingcod. In the years that followed, my peers and I transferred knowledge to other members of the family who integrated the information into current fishing and management practices.

As a youth, I’d get up in the mornings, often before sunrise, and leave the house overlooking a beach. There was no backpack, no lunch box. I was taught what our land would provide through all the seasons: roots, berries, sea urchins and mussels, to name a few. The knowledge of how, where and when to harvest is a way of life, always done in a manner that ensures the resources are sustained for the next person. These teachings and values laid the foundation for the work I completed in tribal leadership.

© Cameron Karsten Photography The Nature Conservancy at the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, WA with Tribal member TJ

To our north, Tlingit and Haida elders observe young herring following older herring to spawning grounds. When industrial fishing removes the elder herring from spawning sites, the stock is destroyed, as the young fish can no longer find their way home. Failure to heed these traditional observations is leading to the demise of herring and threatening aspects of Tlingit and Haida culture that are closely tied to herring.

A recent news item featured the astonishing observation that birds in Australia intentionally spread fire by carrying burning sticks. While this is fascinating, it has long been known to the Aboriginals. Using fire as a management tool is widespread throughout indigenous cultures. Makah is no exception. For centuries our ancestors used fire to manage crops of cranberries and tea. These resources are currently threatened by our changing climate, as well as the laws and regulations that govern the use of fire.

© Cameron Karsten Photography The Nature Conservancy at the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, WA with Tribal member TJ

Respecting and embracing indigenous knowledge as important science benefits all of us. In looking for solutions to the environmental dilemmas that confront us, it is critical to apply indigenous knowledge. All of us are looking for a better understanding of the Earth and her ecosystems. By integrating traditional knowledge with Western science, together we can solve some of our biggest challenges, including those brought by our changing climate.

As communities worldwide prepare to March for Science, this focus is appropriate and important. Threats to scientific knowledge must be rejected, and decision making based on fact must be embraced. Equally important, we should also embrace 10,000-plus years of field observation by indigenous peoples around the world.

This empirical knowledge has sustained people and cultures and has laid the groundwork for many modern “discoveries.” Indigenous peoples are truly the experts of their area and place, with a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of nature and our role in conserving resources for future generations.

Original Post (April 10, 2018)

Nathan Myhrvold for French “Les Echos”

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Nathan Myhrvold’s reactions are as unusual as the man himself. His bursts of laughter would awaken the dead. His voice soars to high registers with each burst of enthusiasm – and these are frequent because the number of passions he holds boggles the mind (Anois Moutot for Les Echos).

A fascinating man following his dreams and helping the world one can of canned bread at a time. Assignment for French newspaper Les Echos earlier this year at Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures compound in Bellevue, WA.

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

 

Wedded: Crissy + Gabriel at Restoration Pt. on Bainbridge Island, WA

Crissy Anderson and Gabriel Palmer married on July 28th, 2012 at Restoration Pt. on Bainbridge Island, WA!

Wedded: Stephanie + Zig at Seattle’s The Rainier Club by Cameron Karsten Photography

Stephanie Ahlquist and Zig Burzycki wedded on July 6th, 2012 at The Rainier Club in Seattle, WA.

Enjoy more at Wedded: Stephanie + Zig

CK Photography: 3 New Updates!

After a busy summer, I’ve uploaded three new additions to Cameron Karsten Photography website under Photography Services:

Wedded: Megan + Matt

Wedded: Laura + Joshua

Portraits

Cameron Karsten Photography offers a professional photography service that draws excellence into any industry, specialized to make any business, family and event shine in the light of infinite creativity. Contact Cameron Karsten for photography services in senior portraits, weddings, commercial, travel and fine art photography.  Extended services included fine art printing, matted and framed.  cam2yogi@gmail.com/206.605.9663

Engagement: Megan Sater & Matt Kuntz

Megan Sater and Matt Kuntz of Bainbridge Island, Washington are set to be married on July 23rd, 2011 at The Farm Kitchen in Poulsbo, Washington

Cameron Karsten Photography offers a professional photography service that draws excellence into any industry, specialized to make any business, family and event shine in the light of infinite creativity. Contact Cameron Karsten for photography services in weddings, senior portraits, commercial, travel and fine art photography.  Extended services included fine art printing, matted and framed.  cam2yogi@gmail.com/206.605.9663

Wedding Videography: Elizabeth + Kyle Gillum – July 31st, 2010 – Bainbridge Island, WA (full length)

Elizabeth + Kyle Gillum – July 31st, 2010 – Bainbridge Island, WA (full length)

I used a Canon HDv10 camcorder, tripod, Nikon D3 and a combination of 17-35mm, 50mm, and 70-200mm Nikkor lenses to create the following material.

Cameron Karsten Photography offers professional photography & videography services that draws excellence into any industry, specialized to make any business, family and special event shine in the light of infinite creativity. Contact Cameron Karsten for photography services in weddings, portraits, senior portraits, commercial, travel and fine art photography. Extended services included fine art printing, matted and framed.

Contact Cameron for more details: cam2yogi@gmail.com / 206.605.9663

Viewing also available on Vimeo at: http://vimeo.com/16574783

Engagement: Lindsay Ann Bury & Stefan Peter-Contesse

To be married as husband and wife, man & woman, on Sunday October 30th, 2010 at 5 o’clock in the afternoon at Riverwood Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee

Cameron Karsten Photography offers a professional photography service that draws excellence into any industry, specialized to make any business, family and event shine in the light of infinite creativity. Contact Cameron Karsten for photography services in weddings, senior portraits, commercial, travel and fine art photography.  Extended services included fine art printing, matted and framed.  cam2yogi@gmail.com/206.605.9663

Engagement: Elizabeth Greene & Kyle Gillum

Cameron Karsten Photography offers a professional photography service that draws excellence into any industry, specialized to make any business, family and event shine in the light of infinite creativity. Contact Cameron Karsten for photography services in weddings, senior portraits, commercial, travel and fine art photography.  Extended services included fine art printing, matted and framed.  cam2yogi@gmail.com/206.605.9663