Traditional knowledge complements resilience

Freedom Tozaka, a chief from Vella
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EXPERTS say reviving traditional knowledge can complement resilience of the Pacific region.

Research carried out by Siosinamele Lui of Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) on tradition knowledge found that countries in the Pacific have traditional resilience mechanisms, which exists and have been practised over decades.

Speaking to the media cohort for the Pacific Resilience Meeting (PRM) 2021 earlier this week, Lui said contextually, traditional knowledge and modern scientific are similar, they just use different languages.

“Traditional knowledge has climate and weather indicators like scientific indicator which modern technology rely on these days,” Lui said.

“Our ancestors have season to plant root crops, harvest and also they can predict the weather. These knowledges are still practiced in many pacific island countries,” she said.

Lui said there is a need to review and merge traditional knowledge into scientific knowledge to build resilience in the Pacific.

Speaking of traditional knowledge, Freedom Tozaka, a chief from Vella Island in Western Province (Solomon Islands) said people in his community are still depending on traditional knowledge passed down from their ancestors to survive.

“We are island people, and we can predict the weather, know when to travel by sea and also when to plant our root crops like taro,” he said.

“Traditional knowledge is in our system and many times we depend on traditional knowledge to survive.”

Tozaka said globalisation and the changing weather patterns due to climate change present new challenges to traditional knowledge weather and climate indications.

He said frequent rainy seasons and sea level rise has applied pressure on food security and also people’s way of life.

“Our traditional knowledge on weather is that we have only two season, wet season which last from November to April and dry season from May to October. We expert Western trade wind known as Koburu and Eastern Trade Wind Ara around these seasons. Currently strong wind can hit any time so as heavy rain,” Tozaka said.

Tozaka acknowledges that there is a need to merge scientific and traditional knowledge to establish effective reliance mechanism and policy that would help communities mitigate disasters.