Cultural and Local Climate Perspectives in Colombia

Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad ; The Investigation Group Cultura y Ambiente of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (2019)

In Colombia, the local population has developed, since ancient times, knowledge systems on nature and its interaction with nature. Climate and natural phenomena like the rainbow, different classes of precipitation, atmospheric phenomena like frosts, and climate cycles such as wet and dry seasons have been well-known, perceived, and interpreted according to specific territorial and cultural features. Cultural perspectives related to weather and climate are an important part of the diversity of knowledge that coexists in the country, and so with the aim of constructing climate change “adaptation” strategies based on these cultural conceptions and practices, the project Cultural and Local Climate Perspectives in Colombia was carried out. Over two years, indigenous researchers and an interdisciplinary team of students and professionals researched and made visible diverse knowledge, perceptions, relationships, and strategies that exist culturally in relation to environmental and climate transformations in different areas of the country. This initiative highlighted the importance of the diverse local and traditional knowledge that indigenous, small-scale farmer, and urban communities have in the creation of a dialogue with expert knowledge that sustains the national adaptation policies. In parallel, there was an analysis of the national and international scenarios on global climate change policies, in addition to decision making and the implementation of those policies. Within the results, it is possible to emphasize some aspects addressed in the research which are particularly relevant to analyze climate change in Colombia: the inclusion of indigenous, small-scale farmer, and urban perspectives; the dialogue with public policies; the inclusion of a gender perspective; the generation of intercultural and interdisciplinary methodological approaches; the projection of the research in national and international arenas; the consolidation of national and international research networks; the creation of contextual analyses; and the establishment of cultural strategies for territorial and environmental management.