George Mason University researchers are investigating the resilience of Arctic peoples to changes in their local environments due to global climate change. In particular, they want to see what information the Viliui Sakha—native people in northeastern Siberia—need to gain a more holistic understanding of global climate change to bolster their ability to adapt. Viliui Sakha are native horse and cattle breeders inhabiting the Viliui River regions of northwestern Sakha Republic in Russia. The 3-year, four-village study is a collaborative effort involving the active participation of the targeted communities, field assistants, native specialists, an in-country research team, and an international collaborator. In a 2004 survey of inhabitants of four villages, the principal investigator found that 90 percent of them expressed concern about local climate change, that it was causing unprecedented change in local areas, and that it threatened to undermine subsistence.
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