By: Tracey Osborne (Scientific American)
A historic number of Native Americans are running for political office this year in congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial races. Although candidates are running on a variety of platforms, candidates like Deb Haaland put the environment front and center. Haaland, who is making a bid for Congress in New Mexico, is committed to addressing climate change through a transition to 100 percent renewable energy. “The fight for Native American rights is also a fight for climate justice,” she said in an interview
In the U.S. Native American reservations represent only 2 percent of the land but hold approximately 20 percent of the country’s fossil fuel reserves, including coal, oil and gas. Together these fuels are worth some $1.5 trillion, according to the Council of Energy Resource Tribes. Whereas some have called for privatizing and exploiting native lands to unleash the economic potential of fossil fuels, many indigenous leaders from both the U.S. and other countries disagree with this approach.
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