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Articles by Environmental Justice Fellow Angely Mercado

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Representative Deb Haaland arrives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019.

Indigenous peoples have a critical role to play in the fight against climate change. Though they make up just 5 percent of the world’s population, their lands encompass more than 80 percent of global biodiversity. Indigenous lands are also at greatest risk from the multiple threats posed by climate change: rising sea levels, warmer temperatures, invasive species, and more severe weather. Indigenous people in the U.S. have been at the forefront of climate planning, using their unique status as sovereign entities to develop ambitious climate change adaptation and mitigation plans for their lands.

Native Americans make up about 1 percent of the U.S. population, but they’ve long been underrepresented in Congress. Since the founding of the country, just 23 Native Americans have served in the legislative body. That slow pace is starting to pick up, however. The 2020 election resulted in victories for a record six Native Americans who will serve as voting members of Congress. Four were reelected, and two were elected for the first time, bringing the historical total to 25.

The victors represent Hawaii, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma. An additional three representatives ... Read more

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