Case: Impacts of Climate Change on Tribes in Washington (Part 1)

Summary

quile

This is a 'clicker' case, to be used in conjunction with an interrupted-lecture format, or an interrupted-workshop format. intended for lower division college undergraduate students. It is suitable for almost any class that is looking for an introduction to climate change impacts on some of the Tribes in Washington State.

The basis of this case study is the potential impact of Global Climate Change on the Tribal lands in Washington State in the Pugent Sound Region. This article uses scientific research and knowledge to prove the facts of Global Warming. This case study also shows the sea level rise in Seattle. It also uses research from the University of Washington to prove climate impacts and the effects it will on the salmon and timber along with many other resources in the Puget Sound region. It also talks about the tides and when they are at their highest and lowest in the region. Winter storms and flooding have a huge effect on the Puget region, its resources, and its people, if steps are not taken to fight Global climate change the degradation to the region could be appauling. The case study explains and shows the steps being taken to help and prevent the effects of Global Warming by the Tribes of the Pugent Sound region, including buying land, and moving villages to higher ground just to name a few.

Includes these tribes:

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications

Learning Goals

  • A better understanding of the effect of Global climate change on the Pugent Sound region
  • A better understanding of the effects it will have on the Salmon and Timber
  • Steps being taken by tribes of the Puget Sound region to help prevent and research Global Climate change

Description and Teaching Materials

Teaching Notes and Tips

Issues/Topics Case Includes:

This case is the first of a two-part series that was designed for each part to be completed within a fifty-minute class period. It was designed to raise awareness of the threats to coastal and Puget Sound Tribes that have land adjacent to these bodies of water. The case is based upon the scientific reality of global climate change, and the topics include an introduction to sea level rise, an introduction to the effects of winter storm surges at high tides, and an introduction to the effects storm water flow into Puget Sound that compounds the effects of high tides. The case represents the research, field measurements and thinking of many local scientists in various state or federal agencies, Tribal leaders, and the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group https://cig.uw.edu/ (accessed May 20, 2011). The consensus conclusions by these groups are straightforward: (1) sea level is rising at a slow rate; (2) river storm-water runoff can compound high tide levels, making seasonal high tides and severe storms particularly damaging for low-lying Tribal lands; and (3) sea level rise and increased severity of storms (both consequences of global climate change) will increase the impact on low-lying Tribal lands. The need for Tribes to be paying attention to the potential impact of sea level rise is obvious.

Learning Objectives:

Students will:

  • Understand that there is clear scientific evidence that humans are significantly affecting the Earth's climate.
  • Understand that measurements over the past hundred years have shown a steady rise in sea level.
  • Understand that climate change will have significant impact on areas near sea level.
  • Understand that high tides will a first level of concern for areas near sea level.
  • Understand that the highest tides occur in the winter season.
  • Understand that river water runoff can add significantly to high tides within most of the Puget Sound region.
  • Understand that winter storm surges are the most likely threat to existing low-lying property.
  • Understand that we can anticipate increased flooding, and severe flooding, frequency.
  • Understand the Tribal areas that are in particular danger of sea level rise, or flooding due to winter storm surges.

Implementation:

This case was designed as a 'clicker' case, to be used in conjunction with an interrupted-lecture format, or an interrupted-workshop format. The clickers allow students to select responses from an array presented them, and to electronically record their responses. The clicker software allows the instructor to immediate feedback regarding student understanding of the array of questions the instructor poses for the students, or to have students participate in a decision-making process, or to have the students vote on some issue. The aggregated student responses are useful measures of student understanding or sentiment, and enable the instructor to adapt presentation content to the topics about which the students may be exhibiting some confusion. This case has clicker questions scattered throughout the case as material is presented, and again as a concluding set of questions. This affords the instructor the opportunity to assess the "before-and-after" levels of understanding each student had.

Excellent background on clicker cases can be found at in an article by Clyde F. Herreid (Herreid, C.F., 2006, "'Clicker' Cases," Journal of College Science Teaching 36(2): 43-47 .

This case is the first of two parts to issues of climate change in Washington State. The focus here is on the effects of sea-level rise(SLR) on certain Indian Reservations, and other shoreline areas. The second part of this case focuses on the effects of climate change on the salmon life-cycle.

My intent in this case was to make students aware of the rate of sea-level rise as measured in Washington State, and to explore the consequences of SLR with high tides, and the storm surges that are so common the winter season in Washington. To this end, a review of when tides are strongest (when the sun, moon, and Earth are approximately aligned in space) is useful, and a reminder to students that in the winter in the northern hemisphere, the Earth is closest to the sun (and hence the gravitational effects of the tides are slightly stronger than in the summer).

A rise of one foot in sea level would cause flooding at high tide in portions of downtown Olympia. A rise of one foot could be caused by storm water runoff from a severe rain storm, as the photographs in the case demonstrate.

I've included maps of potential inundation of several Reservation lands. The take home point here is that many Indian lands are at risk from seal level rise coupled with winter storm surges.

This case is intended as an introduction to some of the climate change implications for the Tribes of Washington State. Part 1 was designed to be offered in a fifty-minute class session. Part 2 was designed for a second fifty-minute class session. Both parts are obviously not an in-depth survey of climate change science, or climate change policy, or what various Tribes are doing with their adaptation and mitigation plans.

Related Cases. There are numerous related cases in our collection to use along with this case on climate change. There is a series of cases we call our salmon series.

The Salmon Series includes Ancestral Roots and Changing Landscapes: The Impact of Seattle's Development on the Salish People of Central Puget Sound ; Native Fishing Practices and Dissolved Oxygen in Hood Canal ; River Flow for Riparian Health ; Co-Management of Puget Sound Salmon ; Salmon contamination on the Columbia River ; Salmon Habitat: The Culvert Case and the Power of Treaties ; The Restoration of the Elwha River: Tribal Rights and the Role of Cost-Benefit Analysis; Cole Impacts of Global Climate Change on Tribes in Washington: Part 1 Sea-Level Rise & Part 2 Impacts on Salmon.

In addition there are other cases on climate change that include "Addressing Climate Change at the Tribal Level" about the Swinomish Tribe, "Climate Change Implications for the Quileute and Hoh Tribes," "Is Your Tribal Land Secure?" about the Quileute and Hoh tribes, "Silak: Ice and Consciousness: The Arctic and Climate Change" and "What are the Prospects for Energy Futures on Tribal Lands?" All of these cases can be found at the Native Cases website:

http://nativecases.evergreen.edu/collection/themes/climate-change.html (accessed August 20, 2011).

Each of these cases has a rich array of resources and references that are very suitable for further student investigation, or student research projects.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the scientific evidence that climate change is real?
  2. What evidence do we have that sea level is rising?
  3. What is the projected sea level rise for Seattle by 2050? 'By 2100?
  4. What is the range of those projections?
  5. Why does a massive amount of river runoff during storms cause the tidal level to rise in parts of Puget Sound (mostly the southern part of the Sound) whereas equally massive river runoff doesn't cause the tidal levels along the Pacific coastal region to rise?
  6. Many Tribes are relocating buildings (and in some cases whole villages) that are susceptible to tidal inundation and rising sea level. In what ways can federal, state and local government agencies assist the Tribes in this relocation?
  7. If humans are causing much of the global warming that we are observing, what should humans be doing to reduce their greenhouse gas production?
  8. What measures can the Tribes take to educate the rest of society about the plight of Tribes that have land that is directly threatened by inundation?

References

There are many excellent books available on climate change science and policy, but I mention three that I have used with great success in classes on climate change science: Global Climate Change, Arnold Bloom; Climate 2030, Rachel Cleetus; and The Climate Solutions Consensus, David Blockstein & Leo Weigman. Excellent documents regarding climate change in general, and sea level rise in particular, can be found at the website of the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington http://cses.washington.edu/cig/ (accessed May 20, 2011). Information, research results, and data bases are constantly changing, and this site, along with the IPCC site (IPCC 2007, below) are among the most credible. A very useful document is Mote 2008, below. Other excellent groups that have working groups dealing with climate change are:

National Congress of American Indians, http://www.ncai.org/

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, http://nwifc.org/

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, http://www.atnitribes.org/

Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission, http://www.critfc.org/ (more info)

The National Tribal Environmental Council, http://www.ntec.org/

Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado Law School, http://www.colorado.edu/law/centers/nrlc/

Boyd 2010, Washington State's Integrated Climate Response Strategy, Nancy Boyd, Washington State Department of Transportation, December 2010, (accessed May 28, 2011)

DNR 2007, Tsunami Evacuation Brochures, Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), 2007, http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/Topics/GeologyPublicationsLibrary/Pages/tsuevac.aspx (accessed May 22, 2011)

Hannah 2007, Native Communities and Climate Change: Protecting Tribal Resources as Part of National Climate Policy, Jonathan M. Hannah, Natural Resources Law Center University of Colorado Law School, 2007 http://scholar.law.colorado.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1061&context=books_reports_studies (Accessed Aug 20, 2011)

International Indian Treaty Council 2003, The American Indian and Alaska Native Leadership Statement on Global Warming, International Indian Treaty Council, 2003, http://www.iitc.org/(accessed July 28, 2011)

IPCC 2007, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2007 – Synthesis Report, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), http://www.ipcc.ch/ (more info) (accessed May 22, 2011)

McNutt 2008, Native Peoples: The "Miners Canary" of Climate Change, Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute, The Evergreen State College, 2008, nwindian.evergreen.edu/pdf/climatechangereport.pdf (accessed July 27, 2011)

McNutt 2010, Northwest Tribes: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change, Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute, The Evergreen State College, 2010, (accessed July 27, 2011)

Mote 2008, Sea Level Rise in the Coastal Waters of Washington State, Philip Mote, Alexander Petersen, Spencer Reeder, Hugh Shipman, and Lara Whitely Binder, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and the Washington Department of Ecology, January 2008, https://digital.lib.washington.edu/researchworks/bitstream/handle/1773/38404/2008-1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (accessed May 28, 2011)

National Congress of American Indians 2010, Tribal Recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2010

Department of Interior Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, Nov. 2010, http://www4.nau.edu/tribalclimatechange/resources/docs/res_TribalRec2012DOICCAdaptInit_52011.pdf (accessed July 27, 2011)

ONR 2005, Office of Naval Research, Science & Technology Focus, website: http://www.onr.navy.mil/focus/ocean/motion/tides2.htm (accessed May 28, 2011)

Parker et. al. 2006, Climate Change and Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations, Alan Parker et. al., Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute, The Evergreen State College, 2006, (accessed July 27, 2011)

Sharp et. al. 2009, A Tribal White Paper on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation From the Intertribal Climate Change Working Group, Fawn Sharp et. al., Intertribal Climate Change Working Group, August, 2009, http://209.206.175.157/documents/climatechange.pdf (accessed July 28, 2011)

Shipman 2009, The Response of the Salish Sea to Rising Sea Level: A Geomorphic Perspective, Hugh Shipman, Washington State Department of Ecology, 2009 https://web.archive.org/web/20150908025749/http://depts.washington.edu/uwconf/psgb/proceedings/papers/6a_shipm.pdf (accessed May 28, 2011)

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community 2010, Swinomish Climate Change Initiative website: https://www.swinomish-climate.com

Note in particular: Swinomish Climate Change Initiative Climate adaption Action Plan, October 2010 https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5bf49ed7aa49a1587719f80f/t/5c6a42c5f9619a97a6d660ff/1550467788279/201010_SITC_CC_AdaptationActionPlan.pdf (accessed July 27, 2011)

Wildcat 2009, Red Alert: Save the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge, Daniel R. Wildcat, Fulcrum Publishing, 2009. ISBN: 978-1555916374

Unger 2011, Sea Level Rise and Ocean Acidification, Kurt Unger, Washington State Department of Ecology, 2011, (personal communication)

United Nations 2008, United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, March 2008, http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf (Accessed Aug 20, 2011)

Assessment

My assessment of this article is that it is very well done. along with that it provides a lot of research on different areas of Global Climate change and Global Warming. It also does a wonderful job showing what is being done and what has been done to help and prevent this issue.

References and Resources

Boyd 2010, Washington State's Integrated Climate Response Strategy, Nancy Boyd, Washington State Department of Transportation, December 2010, (accessed May 28, 2011)

DNR 2007, Tsunami Evacuation Brochures, Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), 2007, http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/Topics/GeologyPublicationsLibrary/Pages/tsuevac.aspx (accessed May 22, 2011)

Hannah 2007, Native Communities and Climate Change: Protecting Tribal Resources as Part of

National Climate Policy, Jonathan M. Hannah, Natural Resources Law Center University of

Colorado Law School, 2007 http://scholar.law.colorado.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1061&context=books_reports_studies

(Accessed Aug 20, 2011)

International Indian Treaty Council 2003, The American Indian and Alaska Native Leadership Statement on Global Warming, International Indian Treaty Council, 2003, http://www.iitc.org/(accessed July 28, 2011)

IPCC 2007, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2007 – Synthesis Report, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), http://www.ipcc.ch/ (more info) (accessed May 22, 2011)

McNutt 2008, Native Peoples: The "Miners Canary" of Climate Change, Northwest Indian Applied

Research Institute, The Evergreen State College, 2008, (accessed July 27, 2011)

McNutt 2010, Northwest Tribes: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change, Northwest Indian Applied

Research Institute, The Evergreen State College, 2010,

(accessed July 27, 2011)

Mote 2008, Sea Level Rise in the Coastal Waters of Washington State, Philip Mote, Alexander Petersen,

Spencer Reeder, Hugh Shipman, and Lara Whitely Binder, University of Washington Climate Impacts

Group and the Washington Department of Ecology, January 2008,

https://digital.lib.washington.edu/researchworks/bitstream/handle/1773/38404/2008-1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (accessed May 28, 2011)

National Congress of American Indians 2010, Tribal Recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2010

Department of Interior Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, Nov. 2010,

http://www4.nau.edu/tribalclimatechange/resources/docs/res_TribalRec2012DOICCAdaptInit_52011.pdf

ONR 2005, Office of Naval Research, Science & Technology Focus, website: http://www.onr.navy.mil/focus/ocean/motion/tides2.htm (accessed May 28, 2011)

Parker et. al. 2006, Climate Change and Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations, Alan Parker et. al., Northwest

Indian Applied Research Institute, The Evergreen State College, 2006,

(accessed July 27, 2011)

Sharp et. al. 2009, A Tribal White Paper on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation From the

Intertribal Climate Change Working Group, Fawn Sharp et. al., Intertribal Climate Change Working

Group, August, 2009, http://209.206.175.157/documents/climatechange.pdf (accessed July 28, 2011)

Shipman 2009, The Response of the Salish Sea to Rising Sea Level: A Geomorphic Perspective, Hugh

Shipman, Washington State Department of Ecology, 2009

http://depts.washington.edu/uwconf/psgb/proceedings/papers/6a_shipm.pdf (accessed May 28,

2011)

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community 2010, Swinomish Climate Change Initiative website:

https://www.swinomish-climate.com

Note in particular: Swinomish Climate Change Initiative Climate adaption Action Plan, October 2010

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5bf49ed7aa49a1587719f80f/t/5c6a42c5f9619a97a6d660ff/1550467788279/201010_SITC_CC_AdaptationActionPlan.pdf

(accessed July 27, 2011)

Wildcat 2009, Red Alert: Save the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge, Daniel R. Wildcat, Fulcrum

Publishing, 2009. ISBN: 978-1555916374

Unger 2011, Sea Level Rise and Ocean Acidification, Kurt Unger, Washington State Department of

Ecology, 2011, (personal communication)

United Nations 2008, United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, March 2008,

http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf (Accessed Aug 20, 2011)\