Biocultural Diversity

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“We have … achieved a better understanding of the nexus between the diversity of living beings and the diversity of cultures – which together make up the diversity of life on the planet. Nurturing human diversity through culture-based conservation, maintenance of traditional knowledge, revitalization of local practices of natural resource use and governance have become equally important objectives of IUCN as those of conserving species and ecosystems – because ultimately they are profoundly linked realities.”

–International Union for the Conservation of Nature 2008  http://www.iucn.org/

If you look around you, it seems that Nature loves diversity.  There is an immense variety of living (and even non-living) things on this planet, forming a complex web of communities and ecosystems.  They have grown and changed through billions of years of evolution.  Humans are a part of this web, dependent on other living things for the air we breathe, the food we eat, the resources we use and the environment we live in.  Within the human species there is an incredible amount of diversity.  There are so many different languages, cultures, religions, and ideas.  The interaction between biological and cultural diversity contributes to the resilience and health of our planet.

What can you do to support biocultural diversity?

  1. Join or support an environmental group that rallies support for better protection for biodiversity and is involved in action to protect endangered species and spaces through conservation programs.
  2. Reduce your ecological footprint by examining how your behaviours impact the environment.  Reduce, reuse and recycle.  Reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Reduce your pesticide use.  Look into organic gardening and xeriscaping.
  4. East organic foods.  Buy directly from local producers.  Eat grass-fed beef and bison. Eat meat from humanely treated animals, or avoid eat meat at all. Grow a garden.
  5. Spend time in nature. Take an eco-tour in your area.  Learn more about the wildlife, ecosystems and endangered spaces near you. Walk the land.
  6. Write your government official and let them know you support efforts to conserve biodiversity.  Ask them what they are doing about this issue.
  7. Create a wildlife habitat in your yard.
  8. Get a conservation easement on your land.
  9. Find the magical places and sacred sites in your area.
  10. Learn another language.
  11. Learn about other religions and cultures.
  12. Uncover old stories about the area you live in or your ancestors, or create new stories.
  13. Spend time with the Elders of your community.
  14. Get involved in local cultural and artistic activities.

Note:  Supporting cultural and religious diversity does not mean promoting ALL practices simply because they contribute to diversity.  Some practices are considered unethical from the broader standpoint of human culture, including human sacrifice, child abuse, sexual abuse etc.

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