Elizabeth Matthews

Start time:

25 November, 08:33


5,0 km , Neatherlands

I run because I see climate change as a threat not only to our future but also to our understanding of our past

I'm an archaeologist and particularly concerned about the fate of the world's cultural heritage, an irreplaceable resource for understanding our beginnings and, of utmost importance in these politically tense times, our common humanity. I am based at the Arctic Centre in the Groningen Institute of Archaeology. Arctic researchers are particularly aware of the effects of climate change. As for me, my research concerns what are termed hunter-gatherer societies (i.e. non-agriculturalists). In the past these groups often occupied coastal areas. Many of the effects of global warming have implications for our cultural heritage but one is particularly worrying for me; rising sea levels increase coastal erosion, and so the archaeological record in these areas is particularly at risk. Today's non-agricultural societies, or hunter-gatherers, are primarily tribal indigenous groups. Indigenous peoples are especially sensitive to and under threat from the effects of climate change. Those peoples who rely so closely on the land, to the point of it being the foundation of their spiritual beliefs, are keenly aware of changing environmental conditions. Most are currently fighting against a tide of industrialisation which brings with it deforestation and land degradation. Research has shown that indigenous groups are the best equipped to protect their land and the environment. Despite this, indigenous peoples are wholly underrepresented both in governmental climate policies and as invited participants at the upcoming talks in Paris. Stop the Con is a movement to bring the rights and especially the voices of indigenous peoples to the forefront when discussing conservation and the environment. Links: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/11/18/climatechange-summit-indigenous-idUKL8N13D0FM20151118 http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11016 http://www.survivalinternational.org/stopthecon