Ărramăt Project: harnessing Indigenous wisdom for biodiversity conservation and community well-being
Imagine living in a world where the wisdom of Indigenous communities guides our actions towards biodiversity and human health. This isn't just a vision; it's becoming a reality through the groundbreaking initiative known as Ărramăt. This New Frontiers in Research funded project is a pioneering effort to acknowledge and amplify the voices of Indigenous peoples, empowering them to share their knowledge about the environment's role in promoting health and well-being.
Indigenous peoples, while making up approximately 60% of the world's population, only hold stewardship over 25% of the Earth's surface area. These lands are vibrant hubs of biodiversity, home to nearly 37% of the world's natural landscapes and a staggering 60% of global mammal diversity. Each community, each voice, adds a unique note to the symphony of ecological wisdom, speaking around 60% of the world's 7000 languages.
The Ărramăt project is a transformative collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, including McGill Department of Natural Resource Sciences Professor Murray Humphries. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, they came together virtually, using tools like Zoom to draft the proposal and secure the grant. Their shared objective echoes the concept of One Health—the interconnected health of land, people, and animals.
At its heart, the project reveres the inherent dignity and interconnectedness of Mother Earth, life, and livelihood. It acknowledges the identity and expression of Indigenous peoples while underscoring the importance of biodiversity, sustainability, stewardship, and well-being.
By supporting Indigenous-led projects worldwide, Ărramăt not only prioritizes Indigenous knowledge but also provides a platform for Indigenous leaders to contribute to addressing global environmental and health challenges. This initiative celebrates the rich tapestry of Indigenous wisdom about the environment and its impact on community health.
In essence, the Ărramăt project is an embodiment of collective commitment towards a healthier planet and healthier communities. It's a testament to the power of unity, proving that conservation and biodiversity restoration are shared pursuits, where every voice matters.