The Art and Science of Biocultural diversity
Our collective ecological and cultural heritage represents a dynamic, kaleidoscopic encyclopedia for understanding, valuing, and stewarding the world our children will inherit. At issue is the sustainability of life: our existence and identity as humans on a fragile planet.
Worldwide, we have more endangered languages and more threatened cultural traditions than endangered biological species and habitats. The concept of sustainable cultural systems goes hand-in-hand with the concept of sustainable ecological systems.
As a researcher, scholar, professor and practitioner I work in landscapes and seascapes with traditional and contemporary cultures throughout the world. My work investigates how human beliefs, knowledge systems, and cultural practices have co-evolved with the surrounding environment.
This co-evolution of humans with our environment is encapsulated by the term biocultural diversity, which posits an intrinsic and synergistic relationship between the natural world (biological diversity) and the cultural world (cultural diversity).
From a scientific viewpoint, the concept of biocultural diversity implies an interdisciplinary approach: to study cultures, one must also study the environment in which those cultures are based.