The links between language, traditional knowledge, and the environment are the topic of one of the units in Terralingua’s emerging biocultural diversity education curriculum for high schools (a project supported by the Berman Foundation). This unit reviews the basic concepts and issues, and presents real-world examples drawn from indigenous and local communities from different parts of the world. With support from Lush Cosmetics Charitable Giving, a special video focusing on Xhosa high school students from the Eastern Cape region of South Africa is has just been completed for this curriculum unit.
The Xhosa students are enrolled in the “Inckubeko Nendalo” (Culture and Nature) biocultural education program created and run by our South African colleagues Michelle Cocks and Tony Dold. The program is meant to reconnect urbanized Xhosa youth with their natural and cultural heritage and with sustainable use and conservation of the region’s rich biodiversity.
Inckubeko Nendalo students were directly involved in the planning and execution of the video. They talk about the Xhosa language, culture, and traditional environmental knowledge, the ways in which language expresses people’s connections with the natural world, and the challenges and opportunities for reaffirming biocultural heritage and for conserving and enhancing biocultural diversity.
As our educational approach stresses authenticity and meaningful experience, we hope to continue to develop original material of this kind for the curriculum, and to collaborate with biocultural education programs in other parts of the world. Please do get in touch with us if you are carrying out, or know of, any such programs, and have ideas or suggestions for collaboration. We’d love to hear from you!