Despite the undeniable fact that Indigenous communities are among the most affected by climate devastation, Indigenous science is nowhere to be found in mainstream environmental policy or discourse. And while holistic land, water, and forest management practices born from millennia of Indigenous knowledge systems have much to teach all of us, Indigenous science has long been ignored, otherized, or perceived as “soft”— the product of a systematic, centuries-long campaign of racism, colonialism, extractive capitalism, and delegitimization.
In order to address this, Dr. Hernandez researches why western structures such as conservation, restoration, etc., are not working and advocates for place-based frameworks of land stewardship informed by Indigenous science. These alternatives to climate change mitigation and adaptation can be implemented at the national and international level to create environmental policy that:
Heals rather than displaces and,
Generates rather than destroys.
Her research and advocacy makes the case that if we’re to recover the health of our planet–for everyone–we need to stop the eco-colonialism ravaging Indigenous lands and restore Indigenous autonomy and sustainable self-determination.
As a trained scientist in environmental science, forestry, marine sciences (oceanography), environmental physics, and climate science & modeling, Dr. Hernandez creates synergy between Indigenous and western science.