Challenges for sustainability in cultures where regard for the future may not be present
AuthorsCrabbe, M. James C.
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AbstractA concept of time depends upon both culture and linguistics, and one person’s future may be another person’s present. Temporal and spatial concepts are crucial to sustainability issues and a concept of “the future” may depend upon ethnicity, linguistic background, lifestyle, and life expectancy. Many currently threatened natural systems are in locations where the indigenous people have a linguistic and conceptual background very different from those in the so-called developed countries. One example is the Bajau people who live off the southeast coast of Sulawesi in Indonesia, close to highly endangered coral reefs. How can we connect the “future perspective” mismatch between Austronesian people like the Bajau and conservationists from developed countries who want to protect the reefs for future generations? Many challenges are ahead, not the least being a practical one of providing the right education for the Bajau to show how certain actions – for example, “no-take” fishing zones – can help achieve their aspirations. Perhaps even more important is the moral challenge of reassessing our own assumptions about worthwhile aspirations, about what is good for the Bajau – and similar people – and their rights and roles in determining the outcomes.
CitationCrabbe M.J.C. (2006) 'Challenges for sustainability in cultures where regard for the future may not be present', Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, 2(2),pp.57-61
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