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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2022

Old Ways for New Days

Indigenous Survival and Agency in Climate Changed Times

  • This book is Open Access which means that there is free and unlimited access to the content

  • Key issues facing indigenous peoples in the context of adaptation to climate change impacts

  • New methods to ensure Indigenous peoples are central to climate change adaptation measures

  • New approaches for survival over existing narratives of vulnerability

Part of the book series: SpringerBriefs in Climate Studies (BRIEFSCLIMATE)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 24.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxxv
  2. Introducing Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change

    • Melissa Nursey-Bray, Robert Palmer, Ann Marie Chischilly, Phil Rist, Lun Yin
    Pages 1-10Open Access
  3. Responding to Climate Change: Why Does It Matter? The Impacts of Climate Change

    • Melissa Nursey-Bray, Robert Palmer, Ann Marie Chischilly, Phil Rist, Lun Yin
    Pages 11-24Open Access
  4. Indigenous Adaptation – Not Passive Victims

    • Melissa Nursey-Bray, Robert Palmer, Ann Marie Chischilly, Phil Rist, Lun Yin
    Pages 25-56Open Access
  5. Tribal Capacity Building and Adaptation Planning: The United States

    • Melissa Nursey-Bray, Robert Palmer, Ann Marie Chischilly, Phil Rist, Lun Yin
    Pages 57-76Open Access
  6. Ethnic Minorities, Traditional Livelihoods and Climate Change in China

    • Melissa Nursey-Bray, Robert Palmer, Ann Marie Chischilly, Phil Rist, Lun Yin
    Pages 77-90Open Access
  7. Do Not Forget the Dreaming: Communicating Climate Change and Adaptation, Insights from Australia

    • Melissa Nursey-Bray, Robert Palmer, Ann Marie Chischilly, Phil Rist, Lun Yin
    Pages 91-109Open Access
  8. Old Ways for New Days

    • Melissa Nursey-Bray, Robert Palmer, Ann Marie Chischilly, Phil Rist, Lun Yin
    Pages 111-126Open Access
  9. Back Matter

    Pages 127-131

About this book

This Open Access book provides a critical reflection into how indigenous cultures are attempting to adapt to climate change. Through detailed first-hand accounts, the book describes the unique challenges facing indigenous peoples in the context of climate change adaptation, governance, communication strategies, and institutional pressures. The book shows how current climate change terminologies and communication strategies often perpetuate the marginalisation of  indigenous peoples and  suggests that new approaches that prioritise Indigenous voices, agency and survival are required.

The book first introduces readers to Indigenous peoples and their struggles related to climate change, describing the impacts of climate change on their everyday lives and the adaptation strategies currently undertaken to address them. These strategies are then detailed through case studies which focus on how Indigenous knowledge and practices have been used to respond to and cope with climate change in a variety of environments, including urban settings. The book discusses specific governance challenges facing Indigenous peoples, and presents new methods for engagement that will bridge existing communication gaps to ensure Indigenous peoples are central to the implementation of climate change adaptation measures. This book is intended for an audience of Indigenous peoples, adaptation practitioners, academics, students, policy makers and government workers.


  • Indigenous peoples
  • Climate change
  • Adaptation strategies
  • Environmental management
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Urban indigenous adaptation strategies
  • Governance and policy challenges
  • Community engagement
  • Open Access

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

    Melissa Nursey-Bray

  • University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

    Robert Palmer

  • Tribal Environmental Professionals, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, USA

    Ann Marie Chischilly

  • Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, North Queensland Land Council Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, Cardwell, Australia

    Phil Rist

  • Southwest Forestry University, Kunming, China

    Lun Yin

About the authors

Melissa Nursey-Bray

Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray,  is from the  Department of Geography, Environment and Population (GEP), at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Her work investigates the connection between people and the environment and focusses on how to engage communities to be part of environmental decision making, particularly in the context of climate change and biodiversity protection. In this capacity she has worked with Indigenous, ports, local government and fishing communities on a range of projects. These projects have examined how conflict, social and cultural values, knowledge, social learning and perceptions affect how people become involved in or help drive environmental sustainability.

Her most recent work explores how different communities can adapt to climate change including the development of adaptation strategies with Indigenous peoples. Melissa is the Convenor of the Adaptation, Community and Environment Research Group (ACE) which focusses on engaging communities in building their capacity to respond to change. Melissa obtained her PhD from James Cook University, and now has over 110 publications including 2 books, and many chapters and articles on climate change and Indigenous resource management respectively.

Lun Yin

Prof. & Dr. Lun YIN is the founder and director of the Climate Action SDG Laboratory (CASLab), he is Ethno-Ecologist of Bai ethnic minority background in Kunming, Yunnan Province of China. Dr. Lun YIN is the professor of the Center for Ecological Civilization, Southwest Forestry University in China, and director of Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous knowledge (CBIK). Dr. Lun YIN is the Indigenous and traditional knowledge Consultant of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES; Senior expert in indigenous knowledge of United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR.

Dr. Lun YIN’s major field of interests is the Traditional Knowledge among the indigenous peoples and local communities around the world which links with biodiversity and climate change, his work is dedicated to the adaptation and resilience of climate change in support of sustainable livelihoods of the indigenous peoples and local communities. He undertakes several action projects and scientific researches together with indigenous peoples and local communities which focus on biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and climate change, and in partnership with other governmental, non-governmental and research agencies, and is committed to serving as a bridge between traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge, local communities and policy makers in order to improve decision-making that affects climate change adaption and biodiversity conservation. His work stresses the importance of basing conservation and development interventions on the traditional knowledge and cultural assets of indigenous peoples and local communities. 

Ann Marie Chischilly

Ms Chischilly is currently Vice President of Northern Arizona University, but prior to that was the Executive Director at the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP). She is responsible for managing ITEP's work with Northern Arizona University, state and federal agencies, tribes and Alaska Native villages. In 2017, ITEP celebrated 25 years serving over 95% of all the 573 Tribes and Alaskan Native Villages nationwide.

Ms. Chischilly currently serves on several federal advisory committees including the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Advisory Committee, the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment (Now the Independent Advisory Committee on the Sustained National Climate Assessment) and EPA’s National Safe Drinking Water Council. From 2013 to 2015, Ms. Chischilly also served on Department of Interior’s Advisory on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science.

Ms. Chischilly speaks both nationally and internationally on topics of Indian Law, Environmental Law, Tradition Knowledges, Water Law and Tribes/Indigenous Peoples. She works with the United Nations on issues of the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and co-wrote, “Guidelines for the Use of Traditional Knowledge in Climate Change Initiatives”.

Before coming to ITEP, she served for over ten years as Senior Assistant General Counsel to the Gila River Indian Community (Community), where she assisted the Community in implementing the historic “Arizona Water Settlement Act” and founded the Community’s Renewable Energy Team. Ms. Chischilly is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation (Diné). She earned her Juris Doctorate degree from St. Mary's University School of Law and a Masters in Environmental Law (LL.M) from Vermont Law School. She is licensed in Arizona and has practiced in state, district, and federal courts. She is also a member of the International Bar Association.

Phillip Rist

Mr Rist is a widely respected Nywaigi Indigenous leader whose skill and determination has played a key role in establishing the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation as one of the most successful Indigenous community-based organisations in Australia. He was first elected as the first chairman of the Girringun Elders and Reference Group and is still actively involved as Executive Officer of the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, the modern day version of the original reference group. Phil is an exceptionally accomplished negotiator who has led Girringun through all the different programs it now leads, and instigated of their inception via his unwavering and unswerving belief in his people and culture. Over the last twenty decades he has led the development of co-management arrangements which protect culture and country along the World heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, set up Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreements and Indigenous Protected Areas. He was also co-theme leader of the Climate Change Leaders group as part of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and continues to play an active role in embedding Indigenous voices in environmental governance, as well as building knowledge partnerships.

Robert Palmer

Rob Palmer is a communications enthusiast with a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Adelaide and a Graduate Diploma of Public Relations from Deakin University. Rob was the communications lead on several climate change adaptation projects, including two major projects aimed at identifying how to improve climate change adaptation communications that target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This has helped him to develop specific expertise in this field and he has co-authored several academic peer reviewed journal articles on the subject.   

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 24.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)