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“Protecting biocultural diversity –
the true web of life.”


Terralingua n 1: the languages of the Earth, the many voices of the world’s diverse peoples. 2: the language of the Earth, the voice of Mother Nature. 3: an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that works to sustain the biocultural diversity of life a precious heritage to be cherished, protected, and nurtured for generations to come. ¶ From Italian terra ‘earth’ and lingua ‘language’.

Photo: David Rapport, Sierra Terrahumara, Mexico

What is biocultural diversity?

It’s the true web of life: diversity in both nature and culture. It’s a living network made up of the millions of species of plants and animals that have evolved on Earth, and of the thousands of human cultures and languages that have developed over time. Languages, cultures, and ecosystems are interdependent. They’re bound together through the myriad ways in which people have interacted with the natural environment. Through a diversity of cultural traditions and practices, in a great variety of natural environments, human communities have acquired invaluable knowledge of how to achieve harmony with nature. Biocultural diversity is both the source and the expression of all the beauty and potential of life on Earth.

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Why does it matter?

Both biological diversity and cultural diversity are in steep decline. It’s a “converging extinction crisis” of the diversity of life in all its forms. We are losing the unique ways of life and identities of the world’s diverse peoples. We are losing both the rich biodiversity that supports humanity and all other species, and the traditional knowledge that helps sustain biodiversity. It’s a matter of survival. In a time of crisis, we not only desperately need healthy ecosystems. We also desperately need all the voices of the planet and the ancestral wisdom that they express. Losing biocultural diversity is like losing our life insurance when we need it most.

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Terralingua News
Terralingua Langscape Volume 2, Issue 13
Weaving Tradition and Innovation. With Guest Editor: Kierin Mackenzie

The challenge we put out in this issue of Langscape is how we can weave tradition and innovation together to actively transform our current global paradigm. How can the linguistic, cultural, and biological treasures handed down to us be utilized in order to ensure their and our continuing existence? How do we draw on ancestral knowledge, practices, and arts to devise new solutions for our global predicament? How do we adapt the gifts, values and teachings of the past to create a brighter future? What new ideas harmonize well with these gifts to reinvigorate their usage where they have declined? How do they strengthen us and the generations to come? Join us as we continue to explore Biocultural Diversity as an emerging paradigm in a changing world. We hope you will enjoy journeying with us through this special volume of Langscape, and that you too will share what you learn with others. read more >>

Langscape Volume 2, Issue 12. Emerging Paradigms in a Changing World.

This Langscape issue provides a platform for some of these alternatives to reach a wider public and make us realize that there ARE other ways of being in and engaging with the world—alternative paradigms founded on values that are not totally foreign to any of us, but that we have either forgotten, or have been led to believe no longer have a place in this world. These examples reveal that these alternative paradigms DO indeed exist and offer options to strive for a better world that includes the many peoples and life forms that share this earth. Join us as we explore Biocultural Diversity as an emerging paradigm in a changing world. We hope you will enjoy journeying with us through this special volume of Langscape, and that you too will share what you learn with others.” read more >>

We Are Enhancing Our Membership System with a New Interactive Website

We created Terralingua Ubuntu as a space for Terralingua members and friends to come together as a community, connect, and work together to sustain the biocultural diversity of life. Ubuntu is a word in the isiXhosa and isiZulu languages of South Africa, meaning: 1. Humanity or personhood, achieved through interconnectedness with other people and community. 2. An African philosophy of humanism, grounded in the notion that human identity and dignity arise out of respect, concern, compassion, generosity, and reciprocity toward others–family, neighbors, ancestors, community, and the human race at large. Terralingua Ubuntu expands the idea of humanness from “what makes us human in relation to other humans” to “what makes all of us human in relation to one another and to nature, of which we are a part”. True to our mandate of actively supporting biocultural diversity, we developed a new website platform offering … read more >>