Friday, 26 October 2007

Extinction of experience

Facing the Global Extinction Crisis: Why Environmentalism isn’t enough.
CES talk by Terry Glavin

The extinction of species occurring nowadays has to be looked at not only from the environmentalist perspective, but also from a social one, not only regarding its causes but very much regarding its consequences. The extinction of species goes hand in hand with the extinction of stories, local ecological knowledge and complete cosmologies. Species extinction is accompanied by the extinction of languages. This matters from a social perspective, because it is in the diversity of languages and ideas that resilience of human communities lies.

Terry Galvin made his stance against the apocalyptic thinking that humanity will become extinct, and pointed out that the current 6th extinction crisis should rather provoke reflection and a realistic focus on how we want to live. In accordance to the Biophilia hypotheses and his experience, humans are genetically preconditioned to care for Nature, and human well-being is improved trough ties with nature.

Environmentalism concerned with the preservation of individual species only, and not taking the social sides to it into account, has damaged many communities, such as whale hunting Norwegian communities and Canadian Inuit seal hunting communities. Environmentalism sometimes holds people back from pursuing their culturally embedded, sustainable livelihood strategies.

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