In the 21st century our planet’s natural resources have become endangered. It is widely accepted that the biosphere—the sum total of the planet’s flora and fauna—is in great peril of collapsing as human populations make a massive impact on the natural world. But what is not widely known is that the human cultural “biosphere” —the sum total of all human cultures living on the planet today—is in even more peril.
Over half of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world today are likely to disappear this century, and with them we will lose a wealth of knowledge about human history, culture, and the natural environment. Most of what humans know about nature is encoded only in oral languages—languages that have never been written down or recorded. We face an immense knowledge gap: indigenous people often know more about local life forms than scientists do. Languages, often little-documented languages, contain an irreplaceable knowledge base about our connection to land, animals, and the ecosystem.
Картинка кликабельна. Фиолетовым отмечены территории, на которых плотность вымирающих языков наиболее высока.