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20.11.08

Cornish Culture & Cornish Environment; same combat?

As a follow up to the original article (see below) here is a relevent Celtic League press release.

CELTIC LEAGUE - PRESS INFORMATION

LEAGUE GS MEETS UN CLIMSAT DIRECTOR

The Director of the new United Nations CLIMSAT centre in Brest, Breizh (Brittany) said on the weekend that the future of the Breton environment lay in the autonomy of Brittany.

Alain Retière, who heads up the CLIMSAT centre, was speaking at l'Union Démocratique Bretonne/ Unvaniezh Demokratel Breizh (UDB) annual conference on Sunday (9th November 2008). Mr Retière said that Breizh was one of the areas of the world that was potentially at risk from the affects of global warming and that efforts needed to be undertaken in order to pre-empt and reduce the risk of damage as a result of global warming.

The new centre will seek to help regions better understand and anticipate the effects of climate change on their territories through the use of satellite images. In his address Mr Retière also spoke about the "First World Summit of Regions, Climate Change: Regions in Action" that took place in Saint Malo, Breizh between 29-30 October 2008. At the summit, 600 participants representing governments, regions and other local authorities gathered to discuss the central role of regional governments in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation and aimed to provide a platform for an exchange of experiences and good practices. The summit also saw 20 regional authorities and six associations of Regional Governments adopting what has been called the Saint Malo Declaration.

The Declaration, which was also signed by the Welsh Government, aims to fulfil a range of different initiatives, including calling upon States and the UN to recognize and support the role of regional governments in the promotion of sustainable development and the efficient response to climate change.

Speaking to the League's General Secretary (GS) after the talk, Mr Retière explained that the Welsh Government were very interested in the work of CLIMSAT and were eager to become more involved.

CLIMSAT is a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiative set up through its Energy and Environment Group (EEG). It is supported by the Breton regional authorities and in collaboration with the Conseil régional de Bretagne.

Original article below:

A report here from UNESCO -Links Between Biological and Cultural Diversity- that should be of interest to all those who consider protecting Cornish culture along with its beautiful and fragile environment as part of the same combat. A question already posed by some in the Duchy is do we need to consider cultural and environmental protection as inextricably linked issues? Ought we try and instill in our children a respect for our cultural heritage hand in hand with a love for its environment?

I have reproduced the foreword from the document below:

Diversity—the rich tapestry of Life’s intricately interlaced phenomena, processes, and relationships—is being degraded by modern reductionist forces of homogenization. The fabric of interdependent and mutually reinforcing strands of biological, cultural, linguistic, and institutional diversities has frayed, as the world has become increasingly brittle and less resilient.

At a time when the environmental and social consequences of human-induced changes have become increasingly severe, there is a growing recognition that humankind, as Albert Einstein observed, “cannot solve problems in the same way of thinking that led to their creation.” A new way of thinking, a paradigm shift, is required to sufficiently improve the nature of our relationship with the world.

Recent years have seen the emergence of integrative fields of inquiry (resilience thinking, ecosystem health, ethnoecology, deep ecology, etc.) that have sought to improve our understanding of the complex interactions between culture and nature, to incorporate insights from both the biological and the social sciences, and to integrate traditional and local knowledge systems and worldviews with conventional scientific approaches.

Over the last decade, the Biocultural Diversity paradigm has emerged as a unifying platform rooted in life-sustaining interdependencies and coevolution of various forms of diversity. Academic ethnobiology has legitimized the vital link between culture and nature and highlighted the need to save the wealth of biodiversity-related traditional knowledge, wisdom, and practices that for millennia have been maintained by indigenous peoples.

The recent advances in the field of biocultural research and practice—grounded in the variety of knowledge systems, values, beliefs, and know-how that have persisted among diverse human societies—have important implications for the practice of biodiversity and cultural conservation. This increase in practical expertise in the development and application of biocultural approaches raises the need to address key theoretical and practical challenges in applying Biocultural Diversity paradigm.

Exploring the links between biological and cultural diversity, the current UNESCO report is an important step in that direction. The report frames the issues for future research and decision-making agendas, critical for the success of global eff orts to reverse global trends of loss in diversity and resilience.

Gleb Raygorodetsky
Program Officer,
Global Biocultural Wisdom & Practice

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