Friday, January 18, 2019
#18 / Anthropology 101
In my blog post yesterday, I urged us all to "pay attention" to the World of Nature. Today, let me refer you to a confirming commentary.
Jessica Stites, pictured above, is the Deputy Editor of In These Times. In an editorial published in the February 2019 edition, which Stites titled, "Anthropology 101 Revisited," Stites references Harvard professor Joseph Henrich, the United Nations, and the World Bank in arguing that indigenous peoples should be playing leadership roles in climate planning.
Stites suggests that the demonstrated ability of the human species to adapt to changing conditions is not, predominately, related to our genetic flexibility, but that it comes, instead, from the complexity and diversity of human cultures. "Indigenous cultures," as she accurately says, "... have served as the Earth's staunchest environmental stewards."
Indigenous cultures, in fact, have "paid attention" to the World of Nature, while modern civilizations have ignored it, operating on the premise that the only world that counts is that human world we create by our own actions and efforts.
Stites points out that human civilization will soon be facting incredible challenges, and that the extinction of the human species is a very real possibility. As she says, "within 100 years, many of our cities will become uninhabitable, submerged under oceans or deadly hot. Storms will become more violent. The gentle planet we've known will be no more." The challenges we face will be, without doubt, life-threatening on the species level, and not just on the individual level. Read "When the Ice Melts" if you have any question about that.
In this situation, Stites is correct that it would be very wise to try to protect and preserve the human cultures that have, unlike our own, been "paying attention" to the natural world.