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Cultural Sustainability and Biocultural Diversity

Big Idea: 

Cultural diversity and biological diversity are intrinsically linked. When cultural diversity is lost, biodiversity is lost and vice-versa. 


Actions, laws and policies that ignore the interdependence of these dimensions are enablers of the planetary crisis. Divisions between nature and culture have started to arise out of the human desire to control nature. This dissociation from nature has led to the current climate crisis, the depletion of natural resources, the extinction of numerous animal species and plant varieties. It is more than obvious that the nature-culture dualism is obsolete, yet, what will it take to eradicate it? We are conscious of the fact that we depend on natural resources and our wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of natural ecosystems, but when will our individual and collective decision-making practically reflect this consciousness? 


Countless scientific studies prove that the world's core areas of biodiversity are those where cultural diversity is sustained and protected. The worldviews, lifestyles and languages of Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic Groups and Local Communities are reflections and manifestations of the inseparability from and reciprocity with  nature. Creation myths across cultures speak about a sacred communion between humans and nature. These stories are kept alive, actioned and expressed through cultural practices, cultural expressions and traditional knowledge. Cosmovisions and philosophies that rely on this interconnectedness, reciprocity and interdependence are reflected in traditional crafts, rituals, indigenous and local knowledge and belief systems. There is not a single celebration, ritual or practice in traditional culture across the world that does not include or reference natural elements - plants, trees, insects, animals, natural phenomena - and their mythical powers, cultural significance, auspicious meanings or sacred roles. 


Cultural Sustainability is about returning full circle to the communion between humans and nature through the nature-culture unity. It is about valuing vernacularism, localism, indigeneity and relearning how we can nurture those ecosystems. It is about looking at nature's self-governance system as a model to inspire human-led governance systems.


Concept: 

Communion with nature - a holistic relationship of interdependence and interconnectedness that sees humans and nature as kin (relatives), with a shared ancestry and a shared future. It can have a spiritual nuance. I learned it growing up in my local community, and it is a universal value lived and practice in communities all over the world.


Call for Action:

Reframing. Instead of breaking natural laws down to concepts like biomimicry, environmental sustainability, climate change - how can we see ourselves in relation to natural laws? Living in communion with nature is a practice and a value that should inform our actions, laws and policies. At Cultural Sustainability Academy - The Knowledge Hub for Cultural Sustainability® we relearn how to reintegrate communion with nature in our lives, in policy and decision-making processes.


Beyond Words:

Biocultural Diversity on the Field of Possibilities. Petrani, Romania 2023.

©Monica Boța Moisin


Written by Monica Boța-Moisin for Cultural Intellectual Property Month 2024, Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative®. Referencing: Boța-Moisin, m., 2024. Cultural Sustainability and Biocultural Diversity, in Cultural Intellectual Property Month 2024, Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative®


This is a conversation starter. Join us in weaving dialogues and crafting actions on the Cultural Sustainability and Biocultural Diversity Thread!


Share your reflections in the comments below or send us your contribution for publication on the CIPRI Website  (written text, audio-video material or photographic work) by swisstransfer to office@culturalintellectualproperty.com - Weaving systemic-change thread by thread!

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