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A deeper meaning of sustainability: Insights from indigenous knowledge

Fulvio Mazzocchi

2020 Italy

This article argues that different cultures and their respective knowledge systems should partake to the sustainability debate. The focus is on insights that indigenous knowledge may provide, analyzing the principles which oversee indigenous relationship with nature, like reciprocity and caretaking. These principles move from a profound sense of unity and interconnectedness and put emphasis on the importance of giving back to nature. They offer an alternative perspective on sustainability that challenges the Western view. Such a view is still focused on maintaining the possibility of exploitation and embedded in a sense of separation from nature. The article discusses the need of creating a laboratory for sustainability, that is, a genuinely pluralist space in which multiple cultural expertise can interact and mutually enrich, yet maintaining their distinction and integrity. The main motivation of such an endevor should be to redefine the notion of sustainability in a more refined and thoughtful way: this is something vital for present and future generations.

cultural expertise, indigenous knowledge, knowledge pluralism, sustainability