The Indigenous writer and activist Pat McCabe says, “humanity has a self-esteem problem”. The global ecological crisis has convinced many people that humans are incompatible with a thriving living world. However, throughout history, communities around the planet have existed and continue to exist in reciprocal relationship with their living places. This coevolution has created a living tapestry of diverse cultures entwined with their ecosystems.
Today, globalisation, neocolonialism and unregulated capitalism are driving the further erasure and suppression of this diversity of cultures. Language loss is an indicator of this. Every fortnight, the final words of an ancient tongue are spoken and a language disappears, carrying with it generations of collective wisdom and knowledge of how to care for and be part of a place. Cultural diversity and biodiversity are entwined; when we lose cultures connected to place, biodiversity follows. This weakens our collective capacity to care for the Earth.
By embracing and upholding diversity of all forms, we can turn the tide on the global ecological crisis. By strengthening both our own cultural connections to place and those around the world, collectively we can weave a rich tapestry of cultures that enables our diverse living places and the planet to thrive.