Climate Change and Land Cover Research Paper

Climate change is sometimes triggered by human activities as well as natural disasters, including volcano eruptions, among other examples. In the past, social structures were used to protect community members from the hunger associated with such harsh conditions. For this reason, Kawelka tribe’s unique gifting ceremony might have taken a different turn from this perspective, wherein the impact of climate change and understanding such interactions are mired in controversy over concepts that demystify whether pattern from climatic conditions. They concentrate on the effects of climate change by exploring their impact on the productivity of plants.

Group Description
The Ongka’s Big Moka documents certain cultural practices that are on the brink of extinction because of the rapid rate of modernization. The filmmakers decided to transverse 5 continents, exploring the behaviors and values of the endangered societies therein. The Kawelka tribe of New Guinea is one of such groups, which adhered to its beliefs at a time when values seemed to acquire new meanings. For instance, the Moka is a festive ceremony that is a useful tool for tribesmen who want some level of influence in matters affecting the community. One could only attain this coveted leadership stature through the number of gifts given during the event. In the video, Ongka intends to offer approximately 600 pigs after a five-year investment period in which considerable amassing of valuable items happened.

According to the Kawelka culture, a candidate gained authority over a population by giving away requisite materials for sustainability rather than acquiring indispensable objects. This way of life is synonymous to those applied in the modern edge where professionals and entrepreneurs become legible as mentors based on their level of success. In some cases, the position held in an organization determines perceptions that relate to how high in regard one is held. If it were not within one’s means to meet the set amount of donations, outsourcing fellow men in Moka becomes the only viable option.

Kawelka is a small tribe that is constituted by about a thousand individuals, who are bordered by either friendly or enemy ethnic groups. They require pigs in their lives because of the value attached to the animal; young men use it to take wives or even avoid trouble. For these reasons, those who do not have them are considered worthless, even though they are at liberty to capture a bird in the forest and rear it before giving it away at the Moka. This practice is synonymous to the philosophy that guides the Panda gifting exercise of dignitaries when they visit China. On the other hand, the primary food for both members of the community and pigs is sweet potatoes. Subsequently, clan constituents still sustained their lives even without owning even a single one because traditional clothes, food, and building materials were available in the forest. In general, however, advancing to a different stage in life, particularly to marriage, creates the incentive to possess the animal. In some cases, families and friends would contribute by holding small scale Moka ceremonies to increase their number of pigs. Ten years before the release of the movie, pearl shells were used instead of money. Surprisingly, prospective leaders were, in certain instances, controlled or threatened with violence, mainly when their bid is under scrutiny or challenges.

In the recording, an adjacent enemy front emerges with the sudden death of a prominent leader in another region. Sorcery in such manners was commonplace; thus, when someone died unexpectedly, he or she would be deemed as having being bewitched. The group is also particular about gender roles, which are ingrained in the messages of their traditional songs. Importantly, the burden of the festival laid upon Ongka’s first wife because she was expected to feed the overwhelming number of livestock on her own or face ridicule from those who would impulsively doubt her level of commitment to her husband. She was overwhelmed by the developing situation and disruption in her home. In the long run, receiving items from the Moka should not only be equated to having a higher number of pigs but also being empowered to keep the peace therein, make a name for oneself, and create a stronger bond that binds the tribe tightly together as a big social event.

In ethnographic studies, cultural data presume the type of items that are directly observable, including houses, statues, tools, cultivated fields, and clothing. In addition, performance in events such as fights, meals, and ceremonies, coupled with ideologies and arrangements, is crucial. On the one hand, anthropologists conform with a perspective of cultural concept that is based on the symbols and elements of a coherent system by recording data with regards to the meaning attached in context as well as the implications of critical practitioners. The demands above were met by two principal research methodologies, which included vital informant interviewing and participant observation. The latter involved mingling with the group under study, which was covered by how events unfolded during the film. In such regard, a researcher is at liberty to stay with participants for up to a year while continuously gathering information and involving oneself in issues affecting growth and development. A systematic approach that entails making observations and keeping daily field notes is a necessity in this case, particularly since the recording of significant daily events coupled with interpretations of informant’s perspectives is a crucial aspect of success. The processes described above focused on open-ended data gathering in general terms based on knowledge acquired from local language and cultural rules. These techniques are not only significant in providing background information that facilitates a narrower investigative approach that is evidence-based. This attitude is perceivable if etiquette is upheld at all times, and meaningful research objectives are met as practised in the local situation. After the 5-member group finished watching the Ongka’s Big Moka, they were subjected to an in-depth session, involving open and lengthy interviews. In this case, strict adherence to representative samples is not relevant; hence, the study must include the input of reliable and informed subjects, with the necessary training for acknowledging systematic data as well as significant interconnections.

Nonetheless, the critical informant selection procedure involves judgment sampling, which is identical to ethnographic characterization and qualitative research. This endeavor is closely linked to the quantitative analysis in the offing in which drawing of validated inferences is plausible. Indeed, the range of research techniques that are regularly employed in such context includes intensive open-ended and repeated interviews regarding aspects of climate change and a brief survey of the discovery.

Data Analysis
Global Warming is a phenomenon that is instigated by retention of heat by gases in the air, thereby increasing atmospheric temperatures. The process commences when sunlight passes through and bounces back as infrared energy, which is absorbed by greenhouse gases. Human activities have led to increased emissions consisting of nitrous oxide, water vapor, methane, and carbon dioxide. Fossil fuels are a menace to the environment even if their contributions in economic growth and development is undisputed. Though they are cited as the factors that increase Greenhouse gaseous contents, the focus given to renewable sources of energy does not salvage the situation.

Other quarters are adamant about the fraudulent nature of such reports concerning how greenhouse gases lead to climatic change. According to numerous conspiracy theories, individual facts concerning this phenomenon are overrated based on their negligent influence. For example, since 1850, the temperature rise is denoted by 1.8-degree increase, where the majority of warming is believed to have taken route before the 1940s. The elevation of such concentrations is attributed to the rate of human activities during the industrial revolution. Competition between sources is also an important concept that cannot be ignored, especially since one is spontaneous while the other one is not. Moreover, computer models that are designed for determining the Greenhouse Theory have not undergone any verification process, even though they contradict reality. The last 100 years is proving how hot the world can be depending on the manner in which heat continue to accrue. Other cases where temperatures rise abruptly do not also conform with the theory of greenhouse emissions, mainly because space exploration is possible and data collected from such ventures prove that the rise is not absent in planets with zero human activities. The initiative tends to rebut the ideology that climatic change is occasioned by constituents that trap heat in the air as opposed to other schools of thoughts, which consider variations in the sun’s radiation as responsible for the disparities in weather patterns.

In the film, the Kawelka tribes and its neighbors, some of which are foes, have a gift ceremony where those who give away the most significant number of pigs and other valuable items are identified for leadership positions. For instance, the community initially received a similar token from a neighbor 10 years ago, from which it was mandated to make returns, in two folds if possible, within a specified timeframe. On one occasion in the discussion, participants became speculative about the motive of such a practice. The chairman, Anthony Kogen, was convinced that it might be a way of escaping the pangs of hunger occasioned by irregular or regular episodes of drought. The only way the groups involved avoided any major loses to their livestock was moving them to a homestead or areas of abundance for a while before receiving them back when the harsh climatic conditions subsided.

This situation is closely related to the broad-scale distribution of plant species based on the influence of climatic conditions in their areas of growth. More than any other factor, today’s vegetation cover depends on the weather, whereas a more excellent scale might highlight the contributions of different aspects, including the type of soil nutrients, its pH status, water retention capacity, the influence of slopes, and potential absence of specific species. The inter- and intra-specific interactions between plants, which involve competition for natural resources, such as nutrients, light, and water, are ultimate determinants of the location of various plant classes.

Unfortunately, rapid climate change is associated with the greenhouse effect, which is responsible for influencing current and future vegetation patterns, even though other artificial features are at play. One of the five drivers of the expected change in stimulating the rate of global biodiversity is concerned with land use by human beings. Being first among others, including biotic interactions in the case of invasive species, efficiency effects that may involve either using fertilizer or sprinkling water and nitrogen deposition are instrumental sometimes. Nevertheless, the impact of climate change on vegetation cover can be challenging, thereby potentially limiting one’s understanding based on the subtle nature therein. The environmental conditions of a plant are an example of the most sensitive issue affecting growth, reproduction, and survival through life cycles. In most cases, abrupt changes in precipitation and temperatures lead to competition between various species. If the degree of the evolution is not uniform, it means that the outcome for both plant populations in their response is bound to differ.

Sceptics of climate change believe that carbon dioxide is food and plants are highly capable of adapting to changes in the environment. Indeed, animals probably conform to various weather patterns, and they are known to have the capacity to do so based on the ability to move from one place to another. In fact, the rate at which they are expected to modify certain aspects of life for sustainability proceeds faster in the modern day compared to the past. The speed is exacerbated based on the fragmented nature of human development, specifically in their habitat, wherein challenges of moving to other locations manifest.

In essence, over the last 6000 years, the climate is known to have attained a level of remarkable stability, except for the present days, with each day being warmer and nights colder than usual. Aquatic species are also migrating from one point to the other based on variations of temperatures in the seas and other water bodies. The discovery of tropical fish and different marine life further north, in the Atlantic and Indian ocean, is an implication of the phenomenon under description. By contrast, the reiteration by one researcher from the University of Highlands and Islands emphasize that animals clearly respond to higher temperatures, and the process is nonstop. The warmth in waters makes animals migrate towards the poles where life is sustainable. On the other hand, aquatic plants, some of which act as food for the traveling animals, determine where they eventually settle. Importantly, people should not forget that every plant has sets of requirements to thrive and that when those circumstances shift, they often die if pollination does not occur in another area. This process results in the redistribution of marine biodiversity, which can be equated to the cultural practice of the Kawelka tribe. Given the presumption that their ancestors used the technique to allow arid land to regain fertility before turns to take care of hundreds of pigs are taken, this scene foreshadows the effects on climate change. Unfortunately, in some cases, species wither and disappear entirely from the surface of the earth, whereas others grow in warmer waters based on new conditions that sustain their survival in such circumstances.
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Works Cited
Anderegg, William. “Spatial and Temporal Variation in Plant Hydraulic Traits and Their Relevance for Climate Change Impacts on Vegetation.” New Phytologist, vol. 205, no. 3, 2015, pp. 1008-1014.
“Ongka’s Big Moka.” YouTube, uploaded by Utopian Love, 17 Jan 2017,

Interview Questions

  • After watching the documentary, explain how you would relate the cultural practices of gift giving at the Moka with climate change.
  • Incorporate various conspiracy theories that have been used to explain why climate change is a hoax.


  • Pigs were valuable and people did all they could to protect them from drought-stricken areas by donating them to neighboring tribes for a specified amount of time.

Field Notes

  • Values attached to pigs: resource necessary for starting a family and escaping trouble.
  • Moka ceremony a conduit to gaining influence in the community and could be related a practice that took root as a result of harsh climatic conditions.