Biocultural Stewardship as an Idea in Urban Contexts: Language, Academic Disciplinarity, Positionality, Environmental/Sustainability Sciences, and Healing
Individual, cultural, and Place-based positionality are important elements when thinking about partnership and the environment, particularly including erasures of Indigenous and other marginalized lenses. Language barriers and exclusion of culture that stem from the Western need for scientific validity, and predominance of this framing within environmental sciences, surface as a main limitation to building relationships, communicating across disciplines, and working beyond institutions. What does the Western scientific imagination lack that might lend a lens on different relationships to Place and on decision-making tools that inform our care of it? Biocultural stewardship of public spaces using an intermingling of ecological and cultural story-telling as a glue could drive a process of Place-making that offers alternative lenses to partnership and the environment. Sustainability, agency, and knowledge production could take on different forms if we leave space for cultural lenses and healing in our partnerships with the environment. Urban areas in particular mark spaces where many cultural traditions are coming together in unique but often underutilized contexts to offer potential knowledge to novel human-environment partnerships. This article draws on framing within the history of science and Indigenous philosophy, to see how broadly but intentionally including different cultural ways of knowing in particularized academic disciplines—especially in environmental sciences—might shed light on relationships of responsibility and stewardship to the land.
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