Solomon Islands is a country rich in Traditional Knowledge across many areas of life. Traditional knowledge guides so many areas of life here, for example: health treatments, farming, fishing and building.
Many of our old way continue today however, our environment and culture are also changing fast. To manage these changes and continue to be strong, proud and capable communities in the future, we need to use skills and knowledge from different sources including science and custom.
The Solomon Islands is increasingly vulnerable to effects of climate change across a number of indicators: ocean temperatures warming and rising, frequency and strenght of earthquakes and change in weather and rainfall patters. This is having a huge impact on the health of our environment and our communitiesSeason and weather change is having a huge impact on the food security and general livelihood of people in the Solomon Islands. Season and weather change is having a huge impact on the food security and general livelihood of people in the Solomon Islands. For example, as ocean levels rise and high swells continue to take away land this forces people to move to new areas. Storms are stronger than they used to and it is becoming harder to predict when weather events will happen as the old seasons are changing.
However, Solomon Islands people are also very resilient and capable of adapting and understanding our changing environment for many generations using custom. There is now a large amount of scientific information that can help to plan and predict weather and season events and patterns. These two forms of knowledge can be combined and work together for a strong future.
The Solomon Islands is now part of a regional trial project to see how traditional knowledge can be officially brought into mainstream use in forecasting and warnings.
At the end of 2014 the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services (SIMS) began a project collecting stories from across the country on traditional methods for predicting weather, seasonal changes and natural disasters. The met service recognises that Solomon Islands possess a wealth of Traditional Knowledge about Weather and Climate. We believe this knowledge held by our elders can help us strengthen our climate forecasting, improve our communication with communities and help build community resilience to natural disasters and extreme weather.
MET service is also aware that the wisdom of our ancestors is fast being lost as people do not realise the value of traditional knowledge and are not taking the time to learn from their elders.
This project has three main aims:
- To record and store Traditional Knowledge about weather and climate for our future
- To encourage relearning of Traditional Knowledge to maintain community resilience to extreme weather and natural disasters.
- And to integrate custom forecasting methods into our forecasting products to improve communication with the public and to strengthen SIMS forecasts.
There are five key stages to this project:
- Documenting custom knowledge on to weather and climate
- Recording and promoting the value of that knowledge
- Monitoring traditional weather and climate prediction methods
- Analysing and integrating reliable traditional methods into MET service forecast products
- Sharing integrated forecast products back to communities