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Has the Adaptation-Mitigation Binary Outlived its Value? Indigenous Ways of Knowing Present an Alternative
  • Anna Ullmann,
  • Karim-Aly Kassam
Anna Ullmann
Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen
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Karim-Aly Kassam
Cornell University

Corresponding Author:ksk28@cornell.edu

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Abstract

Actions addressing anthropogenic climate change are paramount to survival; however, there are limitations to the current binary approach which considers adaptation and mitigation as separate actions. Insights from Indigenous pluralistic ontology reveals anticipatory capacity to include components of adaptation as well as mitigation. Drawing from our research in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, ecological calendars build anticipatory capacity for climate change. Anticipatory capacity, having the ability to envision possible and sustainable futures, occurs in response to the changes in the environment. It includes elements of foresight as these actions are simultaneously in preparation for upcoming uncertainty. These two aspects are elements of the adaptation-mitigation binary respectively. As illustrated by the ecological calendars in the Bartang Valley of Tajikistan, this approach has been carried out for many generations and is founded upon context specificity, intellectual pluralism, and relations between the agropastoralists and transformations in their habitat. Reconceptualizing the adaptation-mitigation binary is not bound to the boarders of the Pamir Mountains, rather it is a practice that is relevant globally.