"These communities--islands of biological and cultural diversity in the ever-rising deluge of development and urbanization--are humankind's "Archipelago of Hope," for here lies our best chance to remember--or learn--how to care for Earth in a way that keeps it healthy for our descendants."
I'm currently reading Gleb Raygorodetsky's The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change, which focuses on various indigenous communities and cultures, relating how they are impacted and what they are doing to being resilient. In the midst of all the horrible news out of the United States Supreme Court in the last two weeks, this has been a nice escape that really isn't an escape but a reminder of reality.
Much like the lessons drawn from my earlier reading this sabbatical summer, in particular what I learned from the last book on the Aztecs, the theme is adaptability to an ever-changing world. While these indigenous communities have ancient practices, because they are more in tune with the earth, they are constantly having to adapt as things change.
One of the Sami elders--the Sami are reindeer herders and salmon fishers currently living in Finland--declares, "It is time to say goodbye to some things we'll never see again. . . . But it is also time to build new knowledge. And this knowledge could only emerge through keeping strong connections with the traditional territory."
Another Sami elder states, "But there is also a glimmer of hope--if the land can heal, even if it takes a long time, it means that we can also heal together with the land." Wisdom for all of in these troubling times. A reminder to take the very long view.
In a chapter on the Nenets, a Siberian reindeer herding people, we get a vivid picture of two worldviews, as their homeland, the Yamal peninsula houses an ever-expanding Gazprom natural gas site:
Here, the semicircle of the Nenets' chums, surrounded with sleds and reindeer, is a symbol of a cyclical world where people are an integral part of nature, not separate from or positioned above it. Their well-being is a product of the timeless coevolution between the people and their land that provides for current and future generations--wood for the sleds, reindeer skins for the chums, fish for the table. The straight lines of the dirt road and the pipeline cutting off the stoybishe from the rest of the tundra represent the rival worldview. It sees people in general, and Western civilization in particular, as being beyond the natural laws governing life, entitled to take from nature anything it craves, like natural gas. The future of the Nenets depends on which of these worldviews prevails in Yamal.