Activities

A Selection of Our Activities, 1996-2012

1996-97,1998,1999,2000,2001,2002,2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011

  • 5th World Conservation Congress, Jeju, Korea

    Terralingua actively participated in IUCN’s 5th World Conservation Congress (WCC 5), which took place on 6-15 September,2012 on the Island of Jeju, South Korea. We organized or participated in a number of events during the WCC Forum. The Forum is a week-long portion of the Congress that brings together NGOs, researchers, indigenous peoples, policy makers, funders, media, and others from all over the world to discuss, share and learn about the world’s most pressing sustainable development issues.

    The highlight of our participation in the Forum was the “Conservation Campus” session we gave on our Vitality Index of Traditional Environmental Knowledge . In addition, we were involved in various activities organized by our partners of the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative . As well, we participated in events related to the development of an Island Biocultural Diversity Initiative promoted by researchers from Mokpo National University in South Korea, and in others devoted to the implementation of a Biosphere Ethics Initiative within IUCN.

    In addition, Terralingua co-sponsored four motions for the approval of the IUCN Members’ Assembly: on Sacred Natural Sites, the Island Biocultural Diversity Initiative, Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas, and the implementation of the Biosphere Ethics Initiative. All four motions were passed by the Assembly.

    It was very encouraging to see biocultural diversity, biocultural heritage, and biocultural conservation come up as recurrent themes during WCC 5. Clearly, the biocultural paradigm is taking hold and making its way into on-the-ground conservation and international policy. Yet, much more needs to be done to counter the continued, rapid loss of the diversity of life in nature and culture and set our planet on a more sustainable course.

  • Sacred Natural Sites and Indigenous Oral Traditions at WCC 5

    Terralingua was a co-presenter in Conservation Campus session “Learning from the Guardians of Sacred Natural Sites – Dialogue and Exchange” at the 5th World Conservation Congress organized by the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative . This conservation campus was one of a series of events organized together with Gaia Foundation, United Nations University Traditional Knowledge Initiative and the Sacred Land Film Project.  SNSI is an outcome of the work of IUCN’s Specialist Group on the Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas. According to SNSI, “Sacred Natural Sites are being increasingly recognized as a resilient conservation network harboring biological and cultural diversity. Their contribution to biodiversity conservation is significant but… legal protection and related policies are often insufficient.” Therefore, this session aimed to bring policy makers, representatives of international organizations, conservationists, and civil society leaders together with custodians of Sacred Natural Sites, to “evaluate the options for international and national policy and practice in order to better legally recognize, safeguard and conserve Sacred Natural Sites”.

    In one segment of this day-long session, devoted to “Custodian voices: Oral history and community film”, Terralingua and SNSI shared lessons learned from a recent collaboration on two participatory community videos focusing on Sacred Natural Sites in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The purpose of this collaboration was to give voice to Sacred Natural Sites custodians and other knowledgeable elders, and to highlight the relevance of preserving oral traditions relevant to the conservation of these sites. One of the two Zanzibar videos was shown at the session.

    In their remarks throughout the session, custodians from a number of indigenous communities worldwide stressed the vital importance of their languages and oral traditions for preserving the cultural and spiritual values of Sacred Natural Sites. This highlights the need for more work linking the conservation of these sites with the documentation and revitalization of the related oral traditions. In response to this need, we aim to expand this aspect of our work under the umbrella of our Voices of the Earth project.

  • 2012
    • 5th World Conservation Congress, Jeju, Korea Terralingua actively participated in IUCN’s 5th World Conservation Congress (WCC 5), which took place on 6-15 September,2012 on the Island of Jeju, South Korea. We organized or participated in a number of events during the WCC Forum. The Forum is a week-long portion of the Congress that brings together NGOs, researchers, indigenous peoples, policy makers, ...
    • Sacred Natural Sites and Indigenous Oral Traditions at WCC 5 Terralingua was a co-presenter in Conservation Campus session “Learning from the Guardians of Sacred Natural Sites – Dialogue and Exchange” at the 5th World Conservation Congress organized by the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative . This conservation campus was one of a series of events organized together with Gaia Foundation, United Nations University Traditional Knowledge Initiative and the ...
    • Biocultural Diversity, Language, and Environmental Endangerment – Panel discussion with Winona LaDuke, Luisa Maffi, and K. David Harrison Winona LaDuke is a Native American activist, environmentalist, and writer, with books including The Militarization of Indian Country (2011), Recovering the Sacred: the Power of Naming and Claiming (2005), All our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life (1999), and a novel – Last Standing Woman (1997). K. David Harrison is Associate Professor and Chair ...
    • Luisa Maffi | Biocultural Diversity – Cultures Are No Museum Specimens | The European Magazine Should we care about biological and cultural diversity even if its decline does not affect us? Martin Eiermann talked with the anthropologist and linguist Luisa Maffi about the value of diversity, ecological resilience and an environmentalist’s commitment to humanism.
  • 2011
    • Terralingua’s Biocultural E-Magazine Focuses on Key Issues of Linguistic Diversity What is linguistic diversity, and why is it so important? The current issue of Terralingua’s E-Magazine, Langscape, “The Case for Linguistic Diversity”, sheds light on these questions and illuminates them with new insights. This issue introduces our readers to one of Terralingua’s innovative projects, the Index of Linguistic Diversity (ILD), and provides a ...
    • Introducing New Terralingua Project: Voices of the Earth Indigenous Peoples the world over are seeking to hold on or reconnect to their oral traditions, in order to maintain or rebuild their identities, their sense of place, and their ability to forge their own destiny and “walk to the future in the footprints of their ancestors”. There is a lot everyone can learn, or ...
    • Policy for Biocultural Diversity: Where Are We Now? Article: Policy Matters, Issue 17. Policy for Biocultural Diversity: Where are we now? by Luisa Maffi. A brief history of the work that has been done to implement BCD into policy over the past 15 years. “It is arguably critical for advocates of biocultural diversity to continue to rise to the challenge and strive for ...
    • Terralingua’s Index of Linguistic Diversity on National Geographic News Watch Language Diversity Index Tracks Global Loss of Mother Tongues. David Braun of National Geographic News Watch interviewed Maffi, David Harmon, and Jonathan Loh about the Index of Linguistic Diversity. “For the past several years, we had been hearing anecdotal reports about endangered languages–how we’re losing languages by the day, how we may lose 50-90 percent of ...
    • Do indigenous peoples hold the key to tackling global hunger? – The Ecologist Competition for land, water and energy are increasing, exacerbated by climate change and a growing population. But why does the Food and Agriculture Organisation now believe indigenous people could provide a solution? Peter Giovannini investigates. Contains interview excerpts with Luisa Maffi.
    • Documenting and Revitalizing Indigenous Oral Literatures A generous grant from the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research, which we received at the end of 2010, is allowing us to start a new, vital project! We are embarking on an effort to support the documentation and revitalization of indigenous oral literatures, which reveal the intimate connection between people and nature. We are presently ...
  • 2010
    • Langscape Volume II, Issue 7 The Winter issue of Langscape has been sent out to all members. If you are not a member and would like to receive a copy of this publication please consider joining our membership. To download back issues of this publication visit our publications page.
    • Webinar Earthcast: Reconnecting Nature and Culture This Earthcast was presented by the authors of  Biocultural Diversity Conservation and Sacred Natural Sites and explored the important relationship people have with nature and how vital it is for the future of our natural world. • Understand the concept of biocultural diversity• Learn how to integrate cultural and spiritual values into conservation, tourism and heritage ...
    • Sanjay Khanna: Nature, Culture and Climate Change Sanjay Khanna interviews Luisa Maffi for the Huffington Post.
    • 12th International Congress of Ethnobiology On May 9-14, 2010, Terralingua traveled to Tofino, British Columbia, Canada–in the heart of the territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve–for the 12th International Congress of Ethnobiology. We presented three sessions. This year’s congress was hosted by the Tofino Botanical Gardens Foundation.
    • 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 ...
    • Restoring human cultures to the web of life – National Geographic News Watch David Braun, National Geographic News Watch interviews Luisa Maffi. This article contains a video of the interview.
    • Biocultural Diversity Conservation: A Global Sourcebook Publication: Biocultural Diversity Conservation: A Global Sourcebook. Edited by Luisa Maffi and Ellen Woodley, Earthscan 2010. The material we present in this volume is the outcome of a project carried out over several years by Terralingua. In the course of this project, we conducted a worldwide survey to identify a representative sample of projects that ...
    • The precious diversity of life, culture and language | WiserEarth Blog Interview with Kerry Vineburg, WiserEarth Blog.
  • 2009
    • Organizers, workshop on biocultural diversity education.  Terralingua, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, 13-15 March, 2009.
    • Invited Lecture (L. Maffi, D. Rapport): ” An Eco-cultural Health Approach to the Assessment of Satoyama”. United Nations University, Yokohama, Japan, 23 March, 2009.
    • Invited workshop (L. Maffi, D. Rapport) on eco-cultural health. Research Institute of Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan, 24-30 March 2009.
    • Invited presentation L. Maffi, D. Rapport): “Eco-cultural Health in the Sierra Tarahumara”. Explorers Club, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, 11 September 2009.
    • Participants, Workshop on Indicators of Indigenous Peoples’  Well-Being and Sustainable Development Focussing on Traditional Knowledge, organized by Tebtebba Foundation and Convention on Biological Diversity.  Nairobi, Kenya, 1-3 October 2009.  Presentation of  Terralingua’s  Vitality Index of Traditional Environmental Knowledge and Index of Linguistic Diversity.
    • Invited panelists (L. Maffi, D. Rapport), Resilient People + Climate Change conference, Vancouver, 21-22 October, 2009.
  • 2008
  • 2007
    • Invited lectures (by L. Maffi), “Eco-Cultural Health for the 21st Century”. University of Tokyo, 18 April 2007 and Research Institute on Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, 23 April 2007.
    • Co-organizers, roundtable “Unity in Diversity: (Re)discovering Organic Thinking for a Sustainable Future”. Festival della Scienza [Festival of Science], Genova, Italy, 27 October 2007.
    • Publication: Culture, by L. Maffi and E. Woodley. In Chapter 5, Biodiversity, Global Environment Outlook: Environment for Development (GEO 4) Report. Pp. 182-185. Nairobi: UNEP. Culture (.pdf)
    • Publication: Biocultural diversity and sustainability (by L. Maffi). In Sage Handbook on Environment and Society, ed. by J. Pretty, A. Ball, T. Benton, J. Guivant, D. Lee, D. Orr, M. Pfeffer and H. Ward. Pp. 267-277. London: Sage Publications.Biocultural Diversity and Sustainability (.pdf)
  • 2006
    • Participants, Ad Hoc Open-Ended Inter-Sessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Granada, Spain, 23-27 January 2006.
    • Invited participants, 2nd meeting of UNEP-WCMC 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership. Cambridge, UK, 7-8 February 2006.
    • Statement on linguistic diversity on the internet submitted to International Telecommunications Union and UNESCO Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet, Geneva, 9-11 May 2006. Statement on linguistic diversity on the internet (.pdf)
    • Reviewers of United Nations University concept paper “Establishing a UNU initiative on traditional knowledge”.
    • Presenters, “Indicators of Biocultural Diversity”. Canadian Sustainability Indicators Network’s on-line learning event. 8 June 2006.
    • Invited participants, conference “Endogenous Development and Bio-Cultural Diversity: The interplay of worldviews, globalisation and locality”. Geneva, Switzerland, 3-5 October 2006.
    • Invited panelists, “L’evoluzione dell’uomo e la biodiversità della Terra [Human evolution and the Earth’s biodiversity]”. Slow Food conference “Terra Madre”, Torino, Italy, 26-30 October 2006.
  • 2005
    • Publication: Review essay (by l. Maffi), Linguistic, cultural, and biological diversity. Annual Review of Anthropology 34: 599-617. Linguistic, Cultural, and Biological Diversity (.pdf)
    • Invited lectures (by L. Maffi) on Terralingua’s Global Biocultural Diversity Assessment”. Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, Huhehaote, and Beijing, China. 1-15 June 2005.
    • Organizers, workshop “Gaps and Needs in Biocultural Diversity Research”. Gainesville, Fla., 21-22 April 2005.
    • Invited panelists, “L’estinzione delle diversità linguistiche” [The extinction of linguistic diversity]. Festival della Scienza [Festival of Science], Genova, Italy, 5 November 2005.
    • Invited participants, 1st meeting of UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre’s 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership. Cambridge, UK, 12-13 December 2005.
  • 2004
    • Organizers, panel “A Global Index of Biocultural Diversity”. 9th International Congress of Ethnobiology. Canterbury, UK, 13-17 June 2004.
    • Invited participants, IUCN – UNDP Dialogues on Biological and Cultural Diversity and the Millennium Development Goals. Barcelona Universal Forum of Cultures, 25-26 September 2004.
    • Co-sponsors (with IUCN), breakout session “”El papel de los pueblos indígenas en la conservación y el desarrollo sostenible de la Amazonía [The role of indigenous peoples in the conservation and sustainable development of Amazonia]”. 3rd World Conservation Congress, Bangkok, Thailand, 17-25 November 2004.
    • Policy Matters: Issue 13 Publication: History, Culture, and Conservation, Policy Matters 13 special issue, G. Borrini-Feyerabend, K. MacDonald, and L. Maffi (eds.). “We are dealing with complex and interlinked biocultural phenomena, and the time is ripe to understand them better and apply that understanding in the practice of conservation.” Luisa Maffi co-edited this issue of Policy Matters which ...
    • Ethnobotany and Conservation of Biocultural Diversity Publication: Ethnobotany and Conservation of Biocultural Diversity, T. Carlson and L. Maffi (eds.). Advances in Economic Botany Series Vol. 15. Bronx, N.Y.: New York Botanical Garden Press. The volume showcases recent ethnobotanical research conducted by members of a new generation of ethnobiologists, including case studies from the tropical environments of the Amazon Basin, Africa, ...
    • Say No More – NYTimes.com This Article contains and interview excerpt from Luisa Maffi.
  • 2003
    • Participants, World Parks Congress. Durban, South Africa, 8-17 September 2003, with support from IUCN – The World Conservation Union. Advocates for biocultural approach to conservation and management of parks and protected areas.
    • Cope Lecture, (by L. Maffi) “On Biocultural Diversity: Transdiciplinary Thinking for Planetary Survival” . William Jewell College. Liberty, Missouri, 5 November 2003.
  • 2002
    • Keynote talk (by T. Skutnabb-Kangas). International Mother Language Day celebration. UNESCO, Paris, 21 February 2002.
    • Publication: In Light of Our Differences: How Diversity in Nature and Culture Makes Us Human (by D. Harmon). Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
    • Participants, World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August-4 September 2002, with support from Ford Foundation. Advocates for biocultural diversity and the role of language and traditional knowledge in sustainable development. Keynote speech (by T. Skutnabb-Kangas) in panel on education for sustainable development organized by UNESCO and South African government.
    • Safeguarding the Uniqueness of the Colorado Plateau: An Ecoregional Assessment of Biocultural Diversity Publication: Safeguarding the Uniqueness of the Colorado Plateau: An Ecoregional Assessment of Biocultural Diversity, by G. Nabhan et al. Pp. xi-xii. Flagstaff, Ariz.: Center for Sustainable Environments, Terralingua, and Grand Canyon Wildlands Council. The assessment in the Colorado Plateau was carried out in partnership with Northern Arizona University’s Center for Sustainable Environments, the Grand Canyon ...
  • 2001
    • Invited participants, International Science Council’s Working Group on Science and Indigenous Knowledge. East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i, 26-27 May 2001.
    • Invited participants, Working Group on Indigenous Peoples and Intellectual Property Rights, summit meeting “Building Bridges with Traditional Knowledge II”. Honolulu, Hawai’i, 28 May-1 June 2001.
    • Presenters (with WWF), lecture “Cultural and Biological Diversity: Indigenous and Traditional Peoples in the World’s Ecoregions”. Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., 8 June 2001.
    • Co-organizers (with Northern Arizona University), practitioners’ retreat “Bridging Ecological Restoration and Language Revitalization Efforts in Native American Communities”. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, 17-18 June 2001.
    • Advisors, National Geographic Magazine. Issue 200(3), September 2001, Earth Pulse map of vanishing languages.
    • Invited participants, 2nd Technical Design Workshop, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Cape Town, South Africa, 8-11 October 2001.
    • Keynote talk (by L. Maffi) “Facing the language endangerment crisis in the 21st century: Where are we now?” . 2nd International Conference on Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim. Kyoto, Japan, 30 November-2 December 2001.
    • On Biocultural Diversity: linking language, knowledge, and the environment. Publication: On Biocultural Diversity: Linking Language, Knowledge and the Environment, L. Maffi (ed.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. On Biocultural Diversity brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from the social and natural sciences as well as cultural advocates, human rights specialists, and indigenous experts to discuss the ways in which the losses of biological, ...
  • 2000
    • Organizers, video screening “Nature and Culture: Preserving the Diversity of Life”. Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, 19 March 2000.
    • Distinguished lecture (by L. Maffi): Coevolution: Nature and Culture. Berkeley Natural History Museums’ Evolution Lectures Series, University of California at Berkeley, 15 November 2000.
    • Organizers, video screening “Coevolution: Nature and Culture”. Berkeley Natural History Museums’ Evolution Lectures Series, University of California at Berkeley, 15 November 2000.
  • 1999
    • Advisors, National Geographic Magazine. Issue 196(2), August 1999, on global culture, Millennium supplement map of linguistic diversity.
    • Organizers, video screening “Nature and Culture: Preserving the Diversity of Life”. Field Museum of Natural His­tory, Chicago, Illinois, 18 April 1999.
    • Report on the 16th. International Botanical Congress Organizers, symposium “Ethnobotany and Biocultural Diversity Conservation”. 16th International Botanical Congress. St. Louis, Missouri, 1-7 August 1999.
    • Language, Culture and Understandings of the Environment: lessons for environmental policy and education Organizers, symposium “Language, Culture, and Understandings of the Environment: Lessons for Environmental Policy and Education”. Northwestern University and Field Museum of Natural History, Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, 16-18 April 1999.
    • Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity Article: Linguistic Diversity (by L. Maffi and T. Skutnabb-Kangas with J. Andrianarivo). In Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity, D. Posey (ed.). Pp. 21-57. London/Nairobi: Intermediate Technology Publications/UN Environment Programme. Weaving together philosophical, historical, legal, scientific and personal viewpoints, this book gives a rich sample of the vast web which makes up our cultural, spiritual ...
  • 1998
    • Accredited participants, Roundtable on Intellectual Property and Indigenous Peoples. World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 23-24 July 1998.
    • Concept paper “Indigenous Knowledge and Languages and Intellectual Property Rights” submitted to World Intellectual Property Organization. Follow-up to Roundtable on Intellectual Property and Indigenous Peoples, Geneva, Switzerland, 23-24 July 1998.
    • Organizers, breakout session “Indigenous Peoples and Language: Integrated Perspectives on Linguistic, Cultural, and Biological Diversity” at 16th Session of UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Geneva, Switzerland, 27-31 July 1998.
    • Organizers, community working session “Supporting cultural and environmental diversity through indigenous language development and protection of linguistic human rights”. Sixth International Congress of Ethnobiology. Whakatane, Aotearoa/New Zealand, 23-28 November 1998.
    • 1998-2000 Consultants, World Wide Fund for Nature. Project “Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, Traditional Communities, and WWF’s Ecoregion-Based Conservation”. Cross-mapping of world’s ethnolinguistic groups onto WWF map of “Global 200” conservation-priority ecoregions; report writing; development of guidelines for WWF partnerships with indigenous peoples in biodiversity conservation.
    • Indigenous Peoples: Education and Language Accredited participants, 16th Session of UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Geneva, Switzerland, 27–31 July 1998. Statement “ Linguistic Human Rights in Education ” (UN doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1998/2)submitted to 16th Session of UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Geneva, Switzerland, 27–31 July 1998, Principal Theme “Indigenous Peoples: Education and Language”.
  • 1996-1997
    • Terralingua incorporated as international non-governmental organization (NGO) devoted to fostering the integrated protection, maintenance and restoration of the world’s biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity through an innovative program of research, education, policy and on-the-ground action.
    • Endangered Languages, Endangered Knowledge, Endangered Environments
      Organizers, international working conference “Endangered Languages, Endangered Knowledge, Endangered Environments”, University of California, Berkeley, 25-27 October 1996, which launched Terralingua and the concept and field of Biocultural Diversity.