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Environmental Law Explored

Author Series: Synching Science and Policy to Address Climate Change in Tribal Communities

Heather J Tanana and John C Ruple

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In this episode, Heather Tanana and John Ruple (S.J. Quinney College of Law – University of Utah) discuss their recent NR&E article. Climate change is a global environmental problem, and within the United States, the adverse impacts of our changing climate are falling disproportionately on minority and low-income communities. Native Americans and tribal communities are being impacted in unique ways because of their long and deep ties to landscapes that are subject to rapid environmental changes. The hosts highlight the federal government’s legal obligations to protect Native Americans and the lands they occupy as well as the disproportionate impacts climate change is having on tribal communities. Based on a review of over 100 articles and other publications on the nexus between science and law, they identify recommendations on how to better synchronize science and policy to address climate change, including the recognition and utilization of indigenous science.