By Sian Sullivan
The author is Lecturer in Environment and Development, School of Geography, Environment and Development Studies (GEDS), Birkbeck College, London, UK. email@example.com An earlier version of the article was published in Resurgence online, Issue 250, Sept-Oct 2008.
Bioculturalism is the acknowledgement that biological diversity is linked with cultural diversity in knowledges, languages and practice, and that sustaining both is necessary for ecological and cultural well being. It is an emerging term and concept that marks a radical step to bring varied cultural values explicitly into debate and practice regarding nature conservation.
There is an ancient Greek myth that could be a potent parable for our times. Demeter, goddess of grain, fertility and the rhythm of the seasons, appears as a mortal priestess to the imperious King Erysichthon, suggesting he refrain from cutting the trees of a sacred grove planted in celebration of all she embodies. He ignores her and continues to cut, hungry for timber to build a new banqueting hall for his palace. Demeter, revealing herself in her full splendour,...