Yes, there is a link between biodiversity, cultures, and local languages!
Biodiversity is important for cultural spirits, and for local traditional languages, and not only for food and basic human needs.
In particular for indigenous groups, who don't have a fora where to talk and be condered, this issue is of strategic relevance. As a matter of fact, they often don't have a place within the UN where to discuss their problems, giving their own views. However, within the biodiversity platform there is space for them because they actually live within the nature and forests are their home, integral part of their culture and traditions. For this reason, a place in the Convention on Biodiversity has been reserved to these groups.
The link between biodiversity and traditional knowledge as well as with local languages is a fnudamental passage. With the extinction of local languages, there is big loss of unique historical, cultural, and ecological knowledge. Indigenous communities have elaborated complex classification systems for the natural world, reflecting a deep understanding of local flora, fauna, ecological relations and ecosystem dynamics. This traditional ecological knowledge is both expressed and transmitted through the local or indigenous language. When young people no longer learn the language of their ancestors, special knowledge is often lost, as it is not transferred into the dominant language that replaces it. This is often because the dominant language does not have the vocabulary for this special knowledge, or even because the very situations in which this kind of knowledge and its relevance for survival are learned do not occur in the dominant culture. Information on status and trends of numbers of speakers of indigenous languages may therefore be used as a proxy for measuring trends in the status of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices. Therefore there is a dual relation between local languages and biodiversity, and biodiversity and local languages. It is also connected with their natural habitat, therefore less environment and nature wuold mean that these groups will have to move to urban places, get used to globalization, and therefore change their style-life, learn English, and forget their traditional languages. At the same time, humans will not use the local languages that means that the traditional knowledge linked to the flora fauna will be lost.
According to UNEP ( http://www.youthxchange.net/main/b253-languages-c.asp ),
Over 50% of the world’s languages are endangered: 1 language disappears on average every 2 weeks…
- 96% are spoken by 4% of the world’s population;
- 52% are spoken by fewer than 10,000 people;
- 28% by fewer than 1,000;
- 80% of African languages have no orthography.
It has been demonstrated that where you are losing cultural diversity, you are losing biodiversity, and vice versa:
- there is a remarkable overlap between the global mappings of world's areas of biological ‘megadiversity’ and areas of high cultural and linguistic diversity;
- of the 9 countries that together account for 60% of human languages, 6 of these centers of cultural diversity are also countries with exceptional numbers of unique plants and animal species.
When I've been told that, I found it of great interest, partly romantic. What do you think of it? Th!nk about it!
I would like to thank Iwona for this link, and teh EU for doing this amazing video...
it is simple and effective, as Jan said, and I completely agree with him!