What can Pacific island cultures teach us about sustainability?

| May 20, 2023 | Leave a Comment

Item Link: Access the Resource

Date of Publication: April 28

Year of Publication: 2023

Publication City: Stanford, CA

Publisher: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Author(s): Madison Pobis

Journal: Stanford University

Island geography, genealogy, kinship, and other cultural and environmental factors influenced early Pacific island societies to develop sustainable practices. How can we apply these lessons to climate and sustainability issues today?

Stanford ecologist Peter Vitousek and Polynesian scholars Kamanamaikalani Beamer and Te Maire Tau recently co-wrote a book, “Islands and Cultures: How Pacific Islands Provide Paths Toward Sustainability,” that views Pacific islands as models for understanding how environment and culture can interact.

“An important feature of the book is to draw on both science as it’s conventionally understood and Indigenous understanding of the world and try to bring them together,” said Vitousek, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “I think that the right pathway is for them to look at the world together, and learn from each other’s insights about how the world works. That’s the confluence we’re seeking.”

Vitousek and Beamer came together for a conversation on the intersections of Indigenous leadership, island cultures and the environment during a May 4 event co-hosted by the Woods Institute and the Stanford Native American Cultural Center

Watch the introduction and the conversation on Island Cultures and Environmental Leadership videos below:

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