Title: Re-connecting natural and cultural capital: Contributions from science and policy
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC102129
ISBN: 978-92-79-59949-1 (print)
978-92-79-59948-4 (pdf)
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print)
1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 28023
OP LB-1A-28023-EN-C (print)
OP LB-1A-28023-EN-N (online)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC102129
DOI: 10.2788/258513
Type: Books
Abstract: “The relationship of human beings to the natural environment has so far been seen predominantly in biophysical terms, but there is a growing recognition that societies themselves create and elaborate culturally-rooted procedures to protect and manage their resources. Hence the need to rethink the relationship between culture and environment”. This is how the World Commission on Culture and Development highlighted the inextricable links between nature and culture in 1996. More than two decades later, this book brings together a number of authors from different scientific disciplines and sectors of society, and from many countries of the world, to address the challenging task of reconnecting natural and cultural capital in conceptual and practical terms. While today the concept of “natural capital” - i.e. the stock of our abiotic natural resources and ecosystems as well as the flow of goods and services which both provide - seems to be clearly understood, the idea of “cultural capital” is still rather overlooked. In the context of this book, the term “culture” is not used in the humanistic sense. Culture primarily means the total and distinctive way of life of people or societies, with their unfolding and diversified knowledge - both local and scientific. Moreover it includes the many skills and capacities intended to retain, transmit and develop knowledge, as well as the concrete practices - in most cases implemented and improved for centuries - to make good use of, to benefit from and to protect natural capital. Nature provides essential inputs to culture, and culture acts on nature in a permanent “feedback loop”. We may say that cultural capital is made up of the many and diverse ways in which we deal with natural capital. In recent times the driving forces of industry, agriculture, infrastructure, urbanisation, transport and energy for a growing population and in a GDP-dominated economy, have all been undermining diversity, both biological and cultural. Currently, the high rate of biodiversity loss is being matched by that of cultural diversity loss. Worldwide we are losing biological and cultural wisdom. We are losing biological species at a rate comparable to the loss of ethnicities. Recent generations are losing the conceptual and practical connections to the living resources in their daily life. This loss contributes to reducing nature to a secondary and sectoral field of activity, to a broad scientific discipline, to an administrative or legal sector, and to a side-policy, when in fact nature is the first and central source of our well-being. If we really want to halt the loss of biodiversity, we must aim at halting the cultural loss. Culture - in its broader sense of attitudes, behaviours, values, expressions, norms, livelihood patterns, local and traditional knowledge, skills transmission, and good practices - can substantially contribute towards saving nature, while, at the same time, revising our economies and adopting nature-based solutions agreed within societies. This book offers a variety of valuable and inspiring contributions of authors from around the world, in an effort to meeting the challenge of reconnecting natural and cultural capital.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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