Home > Uncategorized > Lecture Review: Dr. Karim Kassam

Lecture Review: Dr. Karim Kassam

Dr. Karim Kassam presented a lecture on Tuesday February 12, 2013 titled Indigenous Knowledge, Climate Change, and Building Anticipatory Capacity: An Interdisciplinary Challenge.

***Since I am not the first one to post about the lecture I will let it be the summary post and I just wanted to comment on how his lecture related to environmental justice issues.

He  allowed us to examine two case studies that defined his Human Ecology Research (AND’s post has a great outline of what exactly was talked about). The first was about the Inupiat people in Wainwright, Alaska and how climate change impacted their way of life by melting the sea ice. The second case study was in the Pamir Mountains in Afghanistan and how the increase in rainfall intensity has changed the way of agriculture in the area. Both of these situations display adverse affects of climate change, a global environmental issue, on a group that barely contributes to the problem in the first place. Even though he didn’t put it in these exact words, this is definitely a case of environmental injustice. He used these case studies to show how important it is for researchers to look at all aspects of the issue including the community it affects because their local knowledge is a great resource for not only finding new ideas to study but also for coming up with solutions to the problems. He also talked about participatory justice during his lecture on the Pamir Mountains when he talked about changes to their traditional calendar, The Calendar of the Body”, which used a sense of time that tied their environment with their body instead of using a western Gregorian calendar. Participatory justice for them is about finding ways to adapt their agricultural lifestyle to fit the changing seasons (due to climate change).

Overall I thought his talk was extremely interesting and he spoke very eloquently for a scientist. He also did a good job of engaging the audience when he went into the crowd and drew on a dry erase board to prove a point about sharing in a community. I think that if i had a chance to go to another one of his talks I would because you could tell he had a passion for his subject and he loved spreading his knowledge with everyone else.

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