Sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting, and weather patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable and extreme. All of these changes are linked to climate change, which is caused by human activities like burning fossil fuels, deforestation, etc. Additionally, climate change has already caused significant damage to Indigenous Peoples, Lands, animals, and the planet.
To mitigate climate change and achieve climate justice, Indigenous Peoples must be championed in their fight for land rights. Indigenous Peoples have a deep connection to the land and the strong knowledge (science) to use it sustainably, steward it successfully and heal their Lands from environmental degradation and climate change. Dr. Hernandez's research aims to develop sustainable land-based solutions to build climate resilience and ensure a secure future for Indigenous Peoples. She works with Indigenous and local communities to identify sustainable, equitable, and culturally appropriate environmental strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Through her work, she advocates for Indigenous land rights to be elevated in global frameworks and sectoral norms, integrated into national policies, and incorporated into local initiatives. Indigenous land rights should be respected and protected, and governments should focus on addressing legal gaps, such as lack of land tenure, that prevent Indigenous people from accessing their lands.