The precipitous rise in the world’s human population and humankind’s ever-increasing dependence on fossil fuel-based ways of living have played a significant role in raising the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG). As a result, global temperatures are increasing, the sea level is rising, and patterns of precipitation are changing. At the same time, storm surges, floods, droughts and heat waves are becoming more frequent and severe. The consequent decline in agricultural production, increasing freshwater scarcity, and spread of infectious diseases, are degrading local livelihoods and diminishing human wellbeing around the world.
Indigenous peoples are the ones affected by the climate change the most, although they have contributed little to its causes. This is largely a result of their historic dependence on local biological diversity, ecosystem services and cultural landscapes as a source of their sustenance, wellbeing, and resilience.