Talking to the clouds and listening to the trees – National Geographic News Watch

By David Braun

Tofino, Canada–Sometimes it really is a case of not being able to see the woods for the trees. Or is it the other way round?

I attended recently a congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology, in Tofino, Canada–guest of The Christensen Fund, a Canada-based charity that supports stewards of cultural and biological diversity.

Getting there is a bit of an adventure, even in this age of rapid mechanized transport. It involves a couple of flights, a ferry, and a long drive on a winding road through the Vancouver Island Ranges.

There’s plenty of time for a pilgrim to admire the magnificent bays and inlets, the snow-capped peaks, and the ancient temperate rain forests, some of them containing cedars that were already many centuries old
when the first European explorers first saw them hundreds of years ago. Yet the seeds of these awesome trees sprouted when First Nations like Nuu-chah-nulth had been on the island for millennia already.

There’s plenty of time to think on such a journey–and something on my mind a lot was our relationship to such an ecosystem of ancient trees and peoples.

Biocultural diversity is a concept that had not meant too much to me before I traveled to Tofino. But the more I understood and thought about it the more sense it seemed to make. In many ways it’s intuitive, because all the components of the concept are right in front of us, like the trees in the woods.

At the conference I met Luisa Maffi, linguist and anthropologist and one of the founders of the field of biocultural diversity…

Continue Reading –> via Talking to the clouds and listening to the trees – National Geographic News Watch.

Comments are closed.