Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment
Pala’s climate is changing. Stories and observations shared by Pala’s residents match the scientific evidence and latest literature. Climate change refers to long-term changes in usual or expected weather patterns resulting from an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Research suggests that, as a tribal community, Pala is particularly vulnerable to climate change. However, having overcome ecological and human changes on their lands for thousands of years, the people of Pala have also demonstrated exceptional strength, resourcefulness and resilience.
By conducting a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, the Pala Band of Mission Indians and the Pala Environmental Department have taken an important step in understanding and adapting to new changes anticipated to result from climate change in the foreseeable future. Pala’s Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment was completed in 2019, using information from community members, tribal leadership, and various tribal government departments, plus data and research from the scientific community.
The purpose of Pala’s Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment is to identify the most significant climate change vulnerabilities for the Pala community with a focus on the health, social, natural and built environments on the Pala Reservation. Vulnerability to climate change is the degree to which geophysical, biological, and socio-economic systems are susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse impacts of climate change.
Evidence indicates that climate change is increasingly affecting many, if not all, aspects of life on Pala, from the natural environment to community health, economics, and tribal culture. Projections show that these changes will become more extreme in the coming decades.
Fourth Annual Climate Assessment
The Fourth National Climate Assessment released in 2018 indicates that “The health risks of climate change are expected to compound existing health issues in Native American and Alaska Native communities, in part due to the loss of traditional foods and practices, the mental stress from permanent community displacement, increased injuries from lack of permafrost, storm damage and flooding, smoke inhalation, damage to water and sanitation systems, decreased food security, and new infectious diseases.” Conducting a vulnerability assessment for Pala is an important step in deciding how to best prepare for and adapt to these impacts.