Ethnobiology holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many because of its dedication to celebrating the knowledge and values of some of the most distinctive cultural practices in some of the most distinctive places on Earth. Yet we live in a world of diminishing natural and linguistic diversity. Whether due to climate change or capitalism, homogeneity is trumping the once-resplendent heterogeneity all around us.
In this important new collection, Gary Paul Nabhan puts forth a call for the future not only of ethnobiology but for the entire planet. He articulates and broadens the portfolio of ethnobiological principles and amplifies the tool kit for anyone engaged in the ethnobiosphere, those vital spaces of intense interaction among cultures, habitats, and creatures.
The essays are grouped into a trio of themes. The first group presents the big questions facing humanity, the second profiles tools and methodologies that may help to answer those questions, and the third ponders how to best communicate these issues not merely to other scholars, but to society at large. The essays attest to the ways humans establish and circumscribe their identities not only through their thoughts and actions, but also with their physical, emotional, and spiritual attachments to place, flora, fauna, fungi, and feasts.
Nabhan and his colleagues from across disciplines and cultures encourage us to be courageous enough to include ethical, moral, and even spiritual dimensions in work regarding the fate of biocultural diversity. The essays serve as cairns on the critical path toward an ethnobiology that is provocative, problem-driven, and, above all, inspiring.