Placing diverse knowledge systems at the core of transformative climate research

Ben Orlove (Lead Author), Pasang Sherpa, Neil Dawson, Ibidun Adelekan, Wilfredo Alangui, Rosario Carmona, Deborah Coen, Melissa K. Nelson, Victoria Reyes-García, Jennifer Rubis, Gideon Sanago, Andrew Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


We argue that solutions-based research must avoid treating climate change as a merely technical problem, recognizing instead that it is symptomatic of the history of European and North American colonialism. It must therefore be addressed by decolonizing the research process and transforming relations between scientific expertise and the knowledge systems of Indigenous Peoples and of local communities. Partnership across diverse knowledge systems can be a path to transformative change only if those systems are respected in their entirety, as indivisible cultural wholes of knowledge, practices, values and worldviews. This argument grounds our specific recommendations for governance at the local, national, and international scales. As concrete mechanisms to guide collaboration across knowledge systems, we propose a set of instruments based on the principles of consent, intellectual and cultural autonomy, and justice. We recommend these instruments as tools to ensure that collaborations across knowledge systems embody just partnerships in support of a decolonial transformation of relations between human communities and between humanity and the more-than-human world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1431–1447
Number of pages17
Issue number9
Early online date27 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2023


  • Climate
  • Co-production
  • Decolonization
  • Indigenous
  • Knowledge
  • Transformation

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