What will come – as time goes on – of traditional dance, folk music, of the cultures of the people? To prevent their disappearance, a European research project – in Thessaloniki in Greece – is establishing a digital database, fully dedicated to intangible cultural treasures of humanity.

While trying in vain to find successes in the environmental world from 2017, I stumbled on this under the tags “Environment: Cultural Heritage”.  Now this brought up many thoughts and I will try to be coherent about them if I can.

Culture is part of the environment – The environment is part of culture.

Since the beginnings of this country where the settlers were apparently so scared of wild animals that they shot them on sight (as documented by my kids 4th grade history book), to the white explorers who ventured out into the unknown lands, to the Native Americans who actually lived there, thank you very much, the land, nature and exploration have been part of our culture as much as music, literature, dance, and bad hair styles.

From Thoreau, Muir, Aldo Leopold and a great deal more, writers have brought this sense of belonging to and in nature to our attention. Lest we think that only these writers thought that, think of Autobon (born in 1785), William Turner (1508–1568), John Ray (1627–1705), William Derham (1657–1735), Native American Literature (indeed this was the translation of an age old oral tradition to print such as ‘A Son of the Forest: The Experience of William Apess’ (1827), 14th century Persian poems… lets face it, this is a tradition that goes back.

So why are we so intent on crushing both our cultures and our environments? Multi-culturalism, until recently a term heard in the U.S., is now a pariah. Open spaces are being auctioned off to corporations. I would hazard a guess that between fear and profits, these things are very very connected. The same people who prioritize profits over everything else want to eliminate everything they don’t value (golden toilets?). The outdoors and multiculturalism are inherently complicated, messy, and uncomfortable. Also, they don’t generate profits – well they do, but not for these people.

It is documented that people who live within a few blocks of a park or open space are healthier than those who don’t, and people who speak several languages have great learning advantages (and traveling!). I think we should be chatting with our representatives in government to stop attacking immigrants as “other”, to stop thinking public land is better used by industry and start taking seriously the promise to protect and serve the people of the country.

Rant. Done.

The article that spurred all of this on, is here, at the European Commission. This is a high tech way of preserving culture from dance, pottery, to singing and human beat box. They have a great video that you can listen to in 13 languages if you want to get your inner multi-culti on.Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 12.38.24 PM.png

 

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