The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change

The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change

by Gleb Raygorodetsky
The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change

The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change

by Gleb Raygorodetsky


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An enlightening global journey reveals the inextricable links between Indigenous cultures and their lands—and how it can form the foundation for climate change resilience around the world.

One cannot turn on the news today without a report on an extreme weather event or the latest update on Antarctica. But while our politicians argue, the truth is that climate change is already here. Nobody knows this better than Indigenous peoples who, having developed an intimate relationship with ecosystems over generations, have observed these changes for decades. For them, climate change is not an abstract concept or policy issue, but the reality of daily life.

After two decades of working with indigenous communities, Gleb Raygorodetsky shows how these communities are actually islands of biological and cultural diversity in the ever-rising sea of development and urbanization.  They are an “archipelago of hope” as we enter the Anthropocene, for here lies humankind’s best chance to remember our roots and how to take care of the Earth. These communities are implementing creative solutions to meet these modern challenges. Solutions that are relevant to the rest of us.

We meet the Skolt Sami of Finland, the Nenets and Altai of Russia, the Sapara of Ecuador, the Karen of Myanmar, and the Tla-o-qui-aht of Canada. Intimate portraits of these men and women, youth and elders, emerge against the backdrop of their traditional practices on land and water. Though there are brutal realties—pollution, corruption, forced assimilation—Raygorodetsky's prose resonates with the positive, the adaptive, the spiritual—and hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681775326
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Gleb Raygorodetsky is a Research Affiliate with the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria and the Executive Director of the Indigenous Knowledge, Community Monitoring and Citizen Science Branch of the Environmental Monitoring and Science Division within the Department of Environment and Parks, Government of Alberta. Gleb has traversed the far corners of the world, from the Brazilian Amazon to remote corners of Siberia, documenting the challenges of sustaining our biological and cultural heritage.  When not on assignment with National Geographic, he lives in Edmonton, Canada.  All proceeds from the sale of The Archipelago of Hope will go toward  “The Archipelago of Hope Indigenous Resilience Fund,” established through Land is Life (, which will support the communities profiled in the book. 

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Prologue: Thousands of stories xvii

Chapter 1 Into The Wind 1

Uneasy stroll 3

Knowing the place 8

New winds 19

Chapter 2 Chancing with the Land 23

Backbone 25

Peacemaking 32

Sauna 40

Soul of salmon 44

The color of northern lights 49

The magic 55

Chapter 3 The Edge of the Would 61

Toundra sea 63

Real people 65

Rain-on-snow 67

Time to kaslat' 71

Yamal or bust 75

Thawing Earth 77

Arctic heat 80

Potemkin's village 84

The road that shouldn't be there 86

Chapter 4 The Melting Tombs of Altai 93

Goat-pulling 95

Golden mountains 99

Uch-Enmek 103

Earth doctor 108

Glacial retreat 110

Melting tombs 114

Shaman's vision 120

Keeping the balance 124

Chapter 5 Pachamama's Blood 129

Blood 131

Naku 133

Children of Aritiaku 136

An Amazon 140

Yuca gardens and medicine trails 145

"Keep the oil in the ground" 152

Alcides's tale 157

Of dragons and spirits 163

Not in vain 167

Chapter 6 Swidden Honey 169

Jar of light 171

Shifting cultivation 176

Cool Earth 183

Karl Marx, poppies, and forests 192

Of Snakes and bats 198

Chapter 7 Everything Is Connected 205

Survivors 207

Enchanted island 212

Ancient woods 222

Salmon people 227

Tribal parks 233

A better way 236

Chapter 8 Gifts 247

Levi the Kaa-muth 249

Land is life 252

Knowledge cocreation 256

Indigenous rights 259

Healing journey 261

Epilogue: Being a good ally 267

Sources 273

NGOs that support indigenous communities featured in the book 291

Acknowledgments 295

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