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Language for Sustainability

Language for Sustainability: Sustaining Biodiversity and Biocultures
Over 90% of our global cultural diversity and 80% of our biodiversity is estimated to be represented and inhabited by 300+ million Indigenous Peoples and local communities comprised of 5,000 ethnic groups. However, while Indigenous Peoples have historically been effective ecological stewards of their lands, development pressure and limited access to the global economy have raised concerns about over-exploitation of their environment. This has created the paradox that Indigenous Peoples are, at the same time, uniquely situated and qualified to actively and cost-effectively protect biodiversity, but lacking adequate income opportunities, forcing them to discontinue stewardship in favor of seeking alternative livelihoods.

This GCSO-funded project will implement and scale a solution that synergizes biodiversity conservation and biocultural revival. ‘Language for Sustainability’ is a program that will (1) co-produce knowledge through biodiversity monitoring and other science-based conservation practices; (2) provide cash opportunities that encourage stewardship and discourage exploitative hunting; and (3) promote intercultural dialogue to build trust and value in indigenous biocultural knowledge and stewardship practices.

GCSO member institutions will work with local partners to implement and scale these solutions. The Andes-Amazon Field School and Conservation International are already working collectively throughout the region to promote interpersonal relations between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples to highlight commitment to place and foster stewardship. These implementation partners provide knowledge and agreements with local Indigenous People that will be critical for successful outcomes.

In one year of GCSO funding, this project will:

  • Create local job opportunities for Quechuan families in bioculturally-enhanced environmental monitoring and tourism by expanding the teaching portfolio of the Andes Field School
  • Employ native speakers to translate environmental monitoring and tourism teaching materials into local languages of the region
  • Seek funding to scale the Sustainability Field School Model across the Amazon and Mexico

GCSO Participants:
Arizona State University (ASU)

  1. David Manuel-Navarrete, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, ASU
  2. Tod Dillon-Swanson, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, ASU
  3. Leah Gerber, School Life Sciences, ASU

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

  1. Tuyeni Heita Mwampamba, Institute of Research in Ecosystems and Sustainability, UNAM
  2. Ana Elena Escalante, Institute of Ecology, UNAM

Leuphana University Lüneburg (LUL)

  1. Berta Martin-Lopez, Institute for Ethics and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research, LUL
  2. David Lam, Institute for Ethics and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research, LUL

Implementing Partners:

  • Andes-Amazon Field School
  • Quito Saint Francis University
  • Conservation International