Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Cascading Impacts of Environmental Change on Indigenous Culture

Version 1 : Received: 29 May 2020 / Approved: 31 May 2020 / Online: 31 May 2020 (15:57:36 CEST)

How to cite: Yletyinen, J.; Tylianakis, J.M.; Stone, C.; Lyver, P.O. Cascading Impacts of Environmental Change on Indigenous Culture. Preprints 2020, 2020050475 Yletyinen, J.; Tylianakis, J.M.; Stone, C.; Lyver, P.O. Cascading Impacts of Environmental Change on Indigenous Culture. Preprints 2020, 2020050475

Abstract

Global environmental and societal changes threaten the cultures of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC). Despite the importance of IPLC worldviews and knowledge systems to human well-being and biodiversity, risks to these cultural resources are commonly simplified or neglected in environmental impact assessments, in part because cultural impacts are often indirect and therefore difficult to demonstrate. Here, we show that dependency of a culture on the environment can be mapped through human connections with biophysical elements in their environment. We illustrate a rich variety of cultural values that connect an indigenous Māori tribe in New Zealand with their local environment, then evaluate the resilience of this socio-environmental value system to environmental changes. Our results detail how loss of access to key environmental elements can have extensive direct and cascading impacts on multiple facets of indigenous cultural heritage. Consequently, considering only direct effects of environmental change on cultural heritage, or treating the richness of IPLC environmental relations simplistically, can severely underestimate the seriousness of environmental impacts on IPLC culture. Thus, protecting Earth’s cultural and biological diversity requires inclusion of human-environment relationships in environmental impact assessments.

Subject Areas

indigenous peoples; local communities; resilience; cultural heritage; socio-ecological systems; networks

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