The United Nations recently released a preliminary report warning that global biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, with approximately one million species currently at risk of extinction. However, the report noted biodiversity is declining at a significantly slower rate on lands governed by indigenous peoples, demonstrating their success as stewards of their natural environment. Biodiversity describes genetic diversity within and between species and is integral to the health and resiliency of ecosystems.
A decline in biodiversity will negatively impact humans in a number of different ways, ranging from food security to water quality. Considering this, it is imperative for indigenous knowledge to play an integral role in the fight to protect our sacred global biome.
Indigenous peoples across the globe have lived in harmony with their traditional lands for generations, living off the land and its resources while maintaining the integrity of the ecosystem itself. For indigenous peoples, sustainability is a necessity, for without it their own livelihoods are at risk. Traditional ecological knowledge and practices have been so successful that, although indigenous lands account for less than 22 percent of the world’s land area, their traditional territories are home to approximately 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. This has led to a growing appreciation for the value of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in promoting sustainable land management and scientific discovery and in providing environmental data to support climate adaptation strategies. [Continue reading…]