Sharing a World of Difference: The Earth’s Linguistic, Cultural and Biological Diversity – Free Download
by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Luisa Maffi, and Dave Harmon
UNESCO, WWF International, and Terralingua, 2003
This educational booklet was prepared by Terralingua in collaboration with UNESCO and WWF International to introduce students and the general public to the concept of biocultural diversity.
It’s available for free in four languages, along with the digital version of its companion map, The World’s Biocultural Diversity: People, Languages, and Ecosystems.
Purchase the poster version of the map.
The booklet presents the idea that the diversity of life is not only diversity in nature (biodiversity) but also diversity in human cultures and languages (cultural diversity and linguistic diversity). It describes each manifestation of diversity separately and then brings out their interconnections, suggesting that all of these diversities are best understood together as the integrated whole that is biocultural diversity. The booklet points to the threats that each form of diversity is facing and to the “converging extinction crisis” of all diversities, stressing the need for action at the international level to protect and sustain the biocultural diversity of life.
The companion map shows the overlapping geographic distribution of the world’s ecosystems and the world’s languages (a proxy for the world’s ethnolinguistic groups). It also highlights the worldwide distribution of highly threatened languages and highly threatened ecoregions.
The original booklet is in English, but its text is also available in translation into three other official languages of the United Nations: French, Spanish, and Russian (Arabic and Chinese translations not available).