In From the Director,News and Views

Year-End Message from Dr. Luisa Maffi

December 18, 2023

Dear Terralingua Friends and Supporters,

If you are like me, these days you may be asking yourselves how to keep a positive outlook in the midst of one of the darkest periods in recent history! With war raging on several fronts, social and political tensions and strife all over the world, the ravages of climate change and environmental degradation ever more apparent wherever you look, what grounds are there for optimism?

That’s why I love the work we do at Terralingua so much! Not because it gives me some giddy, starry-eyed hope about a hypothetical better world, but because it gives me grounded, realistic hope that a better—that is, ecologically sustainable and socially just—world not only is possible, but is actually being fought for and ushered in by strong, courageous, tenacious people around the globe . . .

All it takes is scratching the grim surface, and there they are: the myriad diverse folks who are working tirelessly to counter the self-destructive trend brought about by a dominant worldview that sees humans as apart from, rather than as a part of, nature, and that considers nature not as a mere repository of resources to be recklessly exploited rather than as the source of all life to be revered and cared for . There they are, working tirelessly to restore and revitalize a world in which the biocultural diversity of life can flourish and thrive.

We are so fortunate to be able to host the stories of many of these indomitable folks in the pages of Langscape Magazine and those of the Indigenous Youth Storytellers Circle! With them, over the past several years we’ve been exploring a series of interconnected themes that, together, paint a poignant, uplifting picture of the counter-movement that’s now afoot: from the “biocultural extinction rebellion” that’s gaining momentum worldwide (Vol. 9, 2020) to the principles of reverence, respect, and reciprocity that are the cornerstones of a bioculturally healthy, resilient world (Vol. 11, 2022), to the interplay of rights and responsibilities that lies at the root of a biocultural resurgence (Vol. 12, 2023), to the idea of “territories of life” as places in which Indigenous and local communities are reasserting their traditional governance and stewardship of lands and waters and rebuilding the web of interconnection and interdependence between people and nature (the upcoming Vol. 13 of 2024).

If you’ve been following these stories, then you must know what I mean! And I trust that those stories must have helped and will continue to help lift your spirits as much as they do mine. Or, if you’re not familiar with those stories yet, then I invite you to read them online or in the beautiful print and PDF versions, and I’m sure you’ll find them to be an extraordinary real-life antidote to today’s doom and gloom!

As the holiday season is upon us, I couldn’t think of a better wish for you all than a new year filled with unity in biocultural diversity—not as a dream-like fantasy, but as an emerging reality that we’re stubbornly building together, day by day, against all odds.

With warmest regards,

Luisa Maffi