Fresh lockdowns for outbreak-stricken parts of Europe raise the prospect of a stimulus surprise from the European Central Bank; here’s the ECB decision day guideThe Bank of Japan on Thursday cut its growth forecast for the current year while keeping its key interest rates and asset purchases unchanged amid high virus uncertaintyThe U.S. is sowing turmoil at the World Trade Organization with its veto of the front-runner for the top postThe G-20 plans to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss debt relief on Nov. 13The Bank of Canada pared back bond purchases and reinforced its commitment to keep interest rates at historical lows; Brazil kept its low-rate guidance as markets see inflation riskThe U.S. goods-trade gap unexpectedly narrowed on a drop in imports In this week’s Stephanomics podcast, Bloomberg renewables reporter Jess Shankleman reports from London and Host Stephanie Flanders talks with economist and policymaker Lord Nicholas Stern about how he thinks addressing climate change can be a sustainable route to growth
Indigenous people account for less than 5% of the world’s population – but they support or protect 80% of the planet’s biodiversity.
They are often the most vulnerable to climate change, but have developed systems built on thousands of years of land management, sustainability, and climate adaption.
Dr Koko Warner from the United Nations climate change secretariat says their participation in fighting global warming is vital.
“I am really hoping for a future scenario where by combining and blending and growing our value systems together, human beings will develop new practices that can be a positive force in nature,” she said.
But where did this ancient knowledge come from and do these practices really work? As the world marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, here are five stories about climate pioneers who are digging deep into their history.
The Sahel: Greening parched earth
Across the Sahel in Africa, ancient farming techniques are helping to breathe life back into parts of the semi-arid region.
The traditional practice of Zai was revived in Burkina Faso in the 1980s. Small pits are dug in the ground and filled with compost, manure and seeds before the rainy season begins.
They help to trap scarce water – a necessity with unpredictable and declining rainfall due to global warming – and also improve the soil’s fertility.
The traditional practice is used across Niger, Mali, Senegal and Chad and can also ease food insecurity.
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an indigenous woman from a Mbororo pastoralist community in Chad, says Zai is known locally as “Karal” or “Buriye”.
She describes how traditional techniques are also used in parts of Chad prone to flooding.
“Seeds are generally planted after the main rains have ended but when the earth is still moist,” she says.
The pastoralists have developed a “holistic” approach to agriculture, recognising up to seven seasons, depending on the area’s history, location, and conditions.
Astronomical and meteorological observations can play a large part in timing the planting of crops such as peanuts, okra, beans, maize and more recently watermelon.
“Our people have survived for centuries,” says Ms Ibrahim. “We’re already proof that it works.”
Australia: Fighting fire with fire
For millennia, Australia’s Aboriginal people have burned land to keep it healthy, improve biodiversity, generate food, and prevent the spread of wildfires.
The ancient land management tool is grounded in cultural and spiritual connections with the earth.
Victor Steffensen, an indigenous fire practitioner, has been teaching “cultural burning” for two decades.
He had predicted the country’s bushfire disaster in the middle of 2018.
“It was a massive wakeup call,” he says. “The land was sick because it wasn’t being properly managed with climate change. Fire plays a big part in that management.”
Thirty-four people died, one billion animals were wiped out and some 3,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed.
Indigenous burning practices vary across Australian ecosystems. It is a delicate and calculated process.
Fire is controlled and timed when conditions are believed to be right with the environment, weather and season.
The burning is kept low in size and intensity to give animals time to flee and to protect forest canopies.
This also clears the floor’s litter layer and shrubs to help create natural fire breaks.
“It’s a science that’s layered on so much information that’s been developed over thousands of years,” he says.
Mr Steffensen also visits indigenous communities in the US and Canada to exchange knowledge of fires.
“It’s an exciting time to reconnect with our landscapes. We’re finding a lot of similarities between our trees, our soils and our grasses,” he says.