Indigenous communities and natural conservation: inseparable

Language is the chain between natural sustainability and indigenous community’s welfare. 

Biological, cultural and linguistic diversity of the world is in danger. Even when discussing vigorously about the nature and significance of the threat to the biological richness of the Earth, no doubt about what is happening to the cultural and linguistic diversity along with the natural conservation.

Indigenous peoples are the agents of the biggest amount of cultural diversity worldwide. Its various forms of existence vary considerably from one place to another. Three-quarters of the world's 6,000 languages are spoken by Indigenous peoples. And many of the most intense regions of the earth biodiversity are inhabited by indigenous peoples.

Most of the world's indigenous peoples live in these countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Republic Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Venezuela.

When we examine the global distribution of indigenous peoples, we note that there is a strong correlation between regions intense biological diversity and cultural intense diversity regions.

This relationship is particularly marked in areas of rainforest, including those that exist along Amazon and Central America.

Moreover, exceptional amounts of plants and animal species are only found in this places.

In November 2000, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF International), in collaboration with the international NGO Terralingua, published a report entitled Indigenous and Traditional Peoples of the World and Ecoregion Conservation: An Integrated Approach to Conserving the World's Biological and Cultural Diversity.

It gets highlighted in the report that 4,635 linguistic, or groups, 67% of these groups, 225 live in regions of greatest biological importance. It is noted in the report that the spoken by indigenous and traditional peoples are rapidly disappearing languages.

As the ecological knowledge accumulated by indigenous peoples is contained in their languages and as in most traditional cultures this knowledge is transmitted other groups or new generations orally, the extinction of languages is result in loss of ecological knowledge.

Recognized by all that biodiversity can be preserved not without culture diversity and the long-term safety of food and medicines depends on maintaining this complex relationship. It is also increasingly clear that diversity culture is as important to the evolution of civilization as biodiversity is for biological evolution. Promote homogeneous cultures poses a serious threat to the human survival on both fronts.

Traditional knowledge is as threatened and is as valuable as the biological diversity. Both resources deserve respect and must be preserved.

These needed relationship mentioned previously is in decreasing rate moment because of the markets expansion, communications and other aspects of globalization that promote dominant languages risking the natives.

The link between culture and the environment is obvious for indigenous peoples. Indigenous communities in not only in Latin America but worldwide share a spiritual, cultural, social and economic relationship with its traditional lands.

Laws, customs and practices reflect both an adherence to earth as the responsibility for the conservation of traditional lands
for use by future generations.

In Central America and the Amazon basin physical and cultural survival of indigenous communities depends on the protection of their lands and its resources.

Throughout the centuries, the relationship between indigenous peoples and their environment has been violated because of dispossession or forced removal from their traditional lands and sacred places.

Development projects, mining and forestry and the Agricultural programs continue to displace indigenous communities in Latin America, that live day by day struggling to keep their culture, language and lands alive even when they are forced to face the 21st century globalization process implications.

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