Thank you for taking the time to read my piece and to leave a comment. First of all, I am very curious as to why the idea that shamans, or indigenous experts, could be allowed to have control is such a threat to Western science / culture. There's a lot to unpack in there.

But broadly speaking, indigenous knowledge and practices are grounded in - and demonstrably better at - safeguarding the environment and biodiversity, particularly when compared with exploitative extractive colonialism. We can look to indigenous communities' efforts, challenges and successes in preserving culture, ways of life and territories as evidence of that - yet Western science still thinks it knows best, even though Indigenous-led conservation is one of the most powerful tools we have. There's a lovely example in the USA of the ecosystem benefits resulting from beaver reintroductions in the USA that indigenous communities fought a long battle to secure. It comes down to two wildly different approaches to the environment - indigenous mindsets are much more about living in and alongside nature, and giving back, whereas the Western mindset is much more about managing and controlling nature, consuming and extracting and taking without much of a thought to giving back. The leather & fashion industry is in the news today for its links to deforestation in the Amazon. I'm also thinking of biopiracy and Western medicine - studies estimate that 25% of all drugs used today come from rainforest plants - pharmaceuticals is big business, but local communities very rarely see commensurate benefit from sharing their ecological knowledge. I'm also thinking of language, and how much environmental awareness and knowledge is wrapped up in indigenous languages, but we're losing this knowledge container - an average of one Indigenous language dies out every two weeks. I'm thinking also of England's colonisation of Scotland, with the Highland Clearances and the attempts to eradicate old ways of life as well as the Gaelic language. These old / indigenous ways of life contained so much rich, life-supporting knowledge that we are at risk of losing because the tendency is to think that Western science knows best - but as our path towards climate breakdown shows, this reverence is perhaps misplaced, and I argue we urgently need to give more credit to other knowledge systems and work with them to deliver workable, sustainable solutions.

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