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PRESERVING DIVERSITY
terralingua | mother language day


TERRALINGUA


website: www.terralingua.org

terralingua
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what: Terralingua (TL) is a non-profit, international organisation founded in 1996 by a group of professionals working in the fields of anthropology, linguistics, biodiversity conservation, and human rights who shared a fundamental belief: that the challenge of protecting, maintaining, and restoring the diversity of life on earth is the challenge of supporting and promoting diversity in nature and culture.

Terralingua supports the integrated protection, maintenance and restoration of the biocultural diversity of life and the world's biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity through an innovative program of research, education, policy and on-the-ground action.

why: as with biological species, languages and cultures naturally evolve and change over time. But just as with species, the world is now undergoing a massive human-made extinction crisis of languages and cultures. External forces are dispossessing traditional peoples of their lands, resources, and lifestyles; forcing them to subsist in highly degraded environments; crushing their cultural traditions or ability to maintain them; or coercing them into linguistic assimilation and abandonment of ancestral languages.

People who lose their linguistic and cultural identity may lose an essential element in a social process that commonly teaches respect for nature and understanding of the natural environment and its processes. Forcing this cultural and linguistic conversion on indigenous and other traditional peoples not only violates their human rights, but also undermines the health of the world's ecosystems and the goals of nature conservation.

how: Terralingua works to better understand, maintain, and revitalise the critical links between biological, cultural and linguistic diversity. Its multi-faceted work program, the Global Biocultural Diversity Assessment currently includes the following projects:
  • Global GIS (Geographic Information Systems): a database on biocultural diversity examines the links between biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity through geo-referenced mappings and analyses current conditions, threats, and opportunities for action.


  • Index on Biocultural Diversity: integrates indicators of biodiversity and indicators of cultural and linguistic diversity to measure conditions in global biocultural diversity, and serves as a benchmark for gauging trends in biocultural diversity.


  • The Global Source Book on Biocultural Diversity: surveys and analyses projects devoted to the maintenance and restoration of biocultural diversity and promotes a community of practice among a global network of organisations and individuals.


  • Regional Biocultural Diversity Projects: assess the state of biocultural diversity ‘on the ground’ in specific regions and develops partnerships with local communities to maintain and restore biocultural diversity.


  • In addition to the projects listed above, Terralingua promotes biocultural diversity through public outreach. Terralingua is involved in a wide array of other activities including international conferences and seminars.
biocultural diversity: Terralingua cares about the diversity of life as biocultural diversity, made up of the variety of plant and animal species and ecosystems, cultural traditions, and languages that have developed on the planet. These diversities are intimately related to, and profoundly shaping, one another over the history of human presence and activities on earth. There is an increasing awareness that humans are an integral part of nature, and that they have helped shape many ‘natural’ environments.
Therefore, understanding the role of humans within the natural world, and the languages and cultures that define that role, are becoming increasingly important to a holistic view of diversity. Moreover, languages, as the main carriers of cultural traditions, play a central role in the relationship between humans and nature, by encoding and transmitting knowledge, beliefs, and values about the environment through words, ways of speaking, stories, songs, and many other forms of expression. Terralingua has found evidence that the global patterns of distribution of biodiversity coincide significantly with the patterns of distribution of linguistic diversity (as representative of cultural diversity as a whole).

contacts

Terralingua
1047, Panchmantra Road
Kuvempunagar, Mysore 570023, INDIA
ph +91.821.566590
fax +91.821.566590
info@terralingua.org

Luisa Maffi (Dr.), President
P.O.Box 4-5
Thetis Island, BC V0R 2Y0, Canada
ph/fax +1.250.246.1414
maffi@terralingua.org
 
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