The environment consists of various organisms that play different roles. These include organisms that can pose a threat to human health and lifestyle, although, the natural construct of the environment by Nature helps to protect and preserve a peaceful coexistence of these life forms. However, man’s manipulation of this natural state has led to so many dangerous aftermaths on the wellbeing of the human race and immense environmental degradation. This lecture will portray how human-induced incidents ranging from deforestation, industrialization, urbanization to climate change are constantly altering the ecosystem and causing disease carrying organisms to move from their natural habitat (that has been destroyed by human activities) to human situated communities, thereby leading to widespread health consequences (zoonosis) such as pandemics. An essential part of several ecological factors that needs to be considered is the reliance on the Indigenous Knowledge (IK) of indigenous cultures on ecological issues, commonly known as Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Indicating the various key components that have hindered the growth and strength of TEK in tackling ecological issues, including globalization and modernity, this lecture would describe the nature of TEK and the important role it has to play in solving and responding to primary social and environmental issues such as biodiversity destruction, decline in environmental standards and global environmental changes. Recognizing that most indigenous culture and cultural beliefs place high premium on Nature, it is identified that this body of knowledge has a significant role to play in building resilience of institutional systems to environmental conservation. It also serves as an effective directive for policy makers in developing strategic policies and programs in combating existing ecological problems.
Ngozi Finette Unuigbe is professor and researcher in International Environmental Law Policy and Ethics at the University of Benin, Nigeria. She has a bias for Traditional Ecological Knowledge and it’s significance in the preservation of Nature. She is published “Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Global Pandemics: Biodiversity and Planetary Health Beyond Covid-19” (Routledge Focus on Environment and Sustainability) at 2020.
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