listen up to wade davis

Our generation is likely to experience the greatest extinction of culture of all time, with nearly half of all languages disappearing in out lifetime. A statistic that would make conservation biologists cringe at the thought of losing that much diversity. Understanding and appreciating culture and it’s inherent knowledge may be one of the biggest challenges of our time.

Wade Davis, famed anthropologist and ethnobotanist delivered a captivating and informative 2015 Milton K. Wong lecture at UBC that spoke to this, and his experience and appreciation for the rich diversity of cultures around the world.

Listen to the full episode while you commute to work here.

Some powerful snippets: 

“We have this idea, in general, that these indigenous people, quaint and colorful though they be, are some how destined to fade away as if by natural law, as if they are failed attempts at being us, failed attempts at being modern. Nothing could be further from the truth. Technology is never a threat to culture nor is change a threat to culture. What is a threat to culture is power. In ever case these are living, dynamic peoples. Not fading away from history but being driven out of existance by identifiable forces.

…. other people of the world are not failed attempts at being you. Are not failed attempts of being modern. Each culture, by definition, is an unique anser to a fundamental question: what does it mean to be human and alive? When the myriad of people of the world answered that, they do so in 7,000 difference voices.

…In th affairs of biologists, if you were to identify an area of high species endemism you create a protected area, but you can’t make a rainforest park of the mind. You can’t freeze people in time like some zoological specimen. Change in fact is the one constant of culture.”