Indigenous people around the world have been particularly vocal about climate change as a challenge to their cosmovision—or traditional worldview—resulting in demands for protection of the earth as part of their core beliefs. Is this because indigenous people are the most vulnerable, and feel the impact of climate change more directly? Or is it because of the centrality of the earth to their traditional beliefs? Using survey evidence from Ecuador, we examine how indigenous cosmovision, science, and vulnerability influence the belief that climate change exists. On the basis of one-on-one interviews with indigenous leaders in Ecuador, we argue that both traditional beliefs and Western science inform citizen views of climate change. We discuss the implications of these findings, arguing that rather than competing with science, the Kichwa-based cosmovision complements Western scientific efforts to combat climate change. We also find that proximity to oil extraction is an important determinant of belief in climate change in Ecuador, suggesting that conceptualizations of vulnerability should be tailored to the particular experiences of individuals.

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