Correlating Local Knowledge with Climatic Data: Porgeran Experiences of Climate Change in Papua New Guinea
In a 2008 article in Current Anthropology Susan Crate outlined a research agenda for anthropological climate change research that incorporates two dimensions: an emic approach that highlights the cultural models that indigenous peoples use to perceive the effects of climate change and an etic approach that takes fi ndings from Western scientifi c knowledge to “complement local understandings and facilitate positive action” (2008: 575). In my initial contribution to the fi rst edition of Anthropology and Climate Change (Jacka 2009) I pursued the fi rst component of Crate’s agenda by exploring the cosmological implications of climate change among the people of Porgera in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. In this chapter I undertake the second part of the research agenda by correlating local knowledge with climatic data to examine the convergences and divergences of local knowledge and scientifi c knowledge. I argue that understanding the varying responses that local knowledge takes to climatic anomalies is essential for future global adaptation strategies designed to mitigate the effects of a changing climate.