Environmental Ethics

Volume 30, Issue 3, Fall 2008

Integrating Ecological Sciences and Environmental Ethics into Biocultural Conservation in South American Temperate Sub-Antarctic Ecosystems

Uta Berghöfer, Ricardo Rozzi, Kurt Jax
Pages 273-294

Local versus Global Knowledge
Diverse Perspectives on Nature in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve

A case study of socio-ecological research conducted in Puerto Williams, Chile reveals that persons belonging to different sociocultural groups in Cape Horn have a diversity of perspectives and relationships with nature. For example, a strong sense of home and belonging was expressed by the indigenous Yahgan community and by old residents, mostly descendents of early twentieth-century colonizers. However, people identified with resource use did not include positive answers for a sense of home. The concept of common land presented marked contrasts among respondents. Those identified with a cultivating type of relationship favored private property over public land. For respondents identified with an embedded type of relationship, freedom of movement was one of their most essential values. Some respondents identified with resource use and those identified with intellectual and aesthetic relationships with nature also valued common land. The approach used in this study transforms polarized and dichotomous notions into gradients of perspectives related to different degrees of local and global ecological and cultural environments. The resulting hybrid vision of perspectives on nature may be helpful in times of global change, where both local and global scales contribute to identify specific problematic asymmetries as well as opportunities for communication among different sociocultural groups.