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The need to save the planet’s remaining biodiversity is becoming increasingly more urgent and it is widely acknowledged that the fate of our remaining wilderness will be decided in the next ten to fifteen years.

At The Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation (CSF), we believe passionately that while human beings have been and are an integral part of the cause of climate change and catastrophic loss of wilderness and flora and fauna, they can, and have to, be a part of the solution.

Traditional communities are the best and most effective guardians of biodiversity but can only be its protectors if they can thrive and have sustainable economic opportunity to stay on the land.

At the heart of the CSF mission is the objective to find a balance between cultural preservation and economic reality. Modernity, technology and globalisation are all realities and indeed should in many ways be embraced and celebrated.

But we must actively protect biodiversity and the beauty of culture if we are to fulfil E.O Wilson’s predication that we must not drop below saving the “Half Earth” and avoid the danger of finding ourselves in Margaret Mead's monochromatic world. Traditional societies are an integral part of the solution.

Learn more about the CSF in Mark Bidwell's interview with Chris Rainier and Olivia McKendrick which can be accessed here.

Why

  • 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity is on the 15% of the planet lived on by indigenous peoples
  • If we work to save that land, we will have a disproportionately beneficial impact on global biodiversity conservation
  • Recent science proves that indigenous people are the best and most effective guardians of land and biodiversity
  • Yet, in almost all circumstances, conservation efforts currently separate people from the land
  • Indigenous communities have a vital part to play in protecting the planet’s lungs and fighting global climate change
  • We must actively protect the culture of indigenous peoples: if they are not supported and economically empowered to stay with their land or if they are forced off it, they simply can’t act as its guardians
  • Cultural protection and biodiversity protection must work hand in hand

"We are losing species at unprecedented rates and losing our own our cultures and languages even faster. Many of the same factors harm both these facets of global biodiversity. The solutions to protect both species and cultures must intersect. We cannot protect nature without respecting local cultures and local cultures surely cannot survive deprived of the environments that nurtured them.” Dr. Stuart Pimm, Director of the Saving Species Foundation