Tribal Leaders Highlight Need to Tackle Climate Change at NM Summit

Oct 26, 2021

The climate emergency has brought extreme drought, wildfires, and flooded roads across New Mexico’s Native American reservations. Now, prominent tribal leaders are highlighting the need to keep the state’s most vulnerable in mind when fighting against a warming climate.

Tribal leaders from the Navajo Nation, Mescalero Apache, Jicarilla Apache, and the All Pueblo Council of Governors met for New Mexico’s 2021 Climate Summit to make a case for immediate climate action in the American southwest.

“Mother earth is not only a part of us. It is us. As five-fingered beings, we have a responsibility to understand what mother earth is telling us and to address it.” 

That’s Navajo Nation President Johnathan Nez. He reminded folks that there needs to be a significant investment in tribal infrastructure to make climate action possible in the future. 

“When the CDC tells you to continuously wash your hands with soap and water during a drought, it’s very difficult for those that rely on hauling water on a daily or weekly basis.” 

Leaders from all groups told tales of extreme heat, wildfires, and suffering livestock from water shortages to emphasize that their communities depend on the land to make a living and to pass cultural wealth from generation to generation.  

On the first day of the summit, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she will be pushing New Mexico’s 2050 emissions goal of reaching net-zero into law. A move, the tribal panel expressed support for.

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Watch the summit here.