When animals head for the hills, be on alert

Long before advanced meteorological equipment came into existence, the ancient Pacific islanders had already developed complex systems — based on traditional knowledge — to explain and understand nature, and to predict any impending disasters.

“Climate traditional knowledge is the knowledge held by those living on the land, whether they are indigenous or non-indigenous peoples, which can be used for climate forecasting. This knowledge is not static and can continually evolve over time and it is often embedded in practice and belief,” said Siosinamele Lui, a climate traditional knowledge officer at Secretariat of the Pacific Region Environment Program or SPREP.

Regional organizations, cultural centers and community groups have long been interested in preserving traditional knowledge accounts, not just for cultural sentiment but for practical purposes, as well.

“Our communities have always been using traditional knowledge to forecast and plan, from organizing daily activities to festivals, planting and harvesting of crops to marriage ceremonies. Traditional knowledge has always benefitted our communities,” Lui said in a Q&A provided by SPREP.