Climate change is an urgent issue, affecting every corner of the world and requiring collective efforts and solutions. However so far, many standard western practices used to fight climate change have not shown the progress or rallied the level of effort needed to move the needle. An approach that brings more local stewards of the land — especially Indigenous people — is needed.

The Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth is putting Indigenous voices front and center in the conversation around climate change. Vice Chair Charity Ropati, Advisory Board Director Sally Jewell, and Executive Director Nikki Santos sat down together to share their personal experiences and insights, highlighting the importance of empowering Indigenous communities — especially Native youth — in the fight against climate change. Here’s what they had to say:

Indigenous voices are important in the climate conversation

Native communities have a unique and valuable perspective on nature and its conservation, grounded in generations of wisdom and stewardship. Indigenous peoples see themselves as an integral part of the natural world, viewing land, water, and air as relatives rather than resources to exploit.

The role of Native youth

The younger generation of Indigenous youth are at the forefront of movements advocating for clean water, environmental justice, and political action. Their unique perspectives and dedication to preserving traditional ideologies make their voices indispensable in shaping the future.

Barriers faced by Native youth in the fight against climate change

Santos pointed out that despite their potential power to affect change, Native youth face many barriers when it comes to advocacy.

Read the full article about Indigenous youth at The Aspen Institute .