The Impact Of Environmental Degradation On Western North American Culture

2043 Words9 Pages
Environmental degradation has become a social and cultural norm both within and supported by Westernized North American life, and the average Canadian and American citizen will likely suffer an estrangement from our natural world. This separation, backed by centuries of social constructions, has done much more than alienate us from our original physicality: it has enforced a culturally justified set of values rationalizing and permitting the devastation of wilderness. A cultural mindset extending centuries into the past is difficult for the individual to identify and even more challenging for a society to overcome; however, another culture exists, namely that of the North American indigenous peoples, who have developed and experienced, through a history of living at peace with the land, what is known as traditional knowledge. This unique relationship to the land encompasses a truth that colonial and subsequent Western rule both overlooked and stigmatized in the face of economic and social “progress”. While Western North American culture is beginning to acknowledge and explore the worldview and methods accrued through traditional knowledge and employ consultation with the indigenous peoples as a vehicle of sustainability, serious damage has already been committed and could have been lessened had our past entailed an adoption of Aboriginal worldviews. The benefits of traditional knowledge can particularly be seen through analysis of Aboriginal relationships to forestry, which
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