Save Endangered Languages in Biodiversity Hotspots

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Target: United Nations Population Fund, World Environmental Organization, and organizations dedicated to language preservation

Goal: Save endangered languages, which are being wiped out in the same regions as most endangered species.

When species are wiped out, languages are wiped out with them. Many languages are facing extinction. Areas with the most biologically diverse ecosystems house populations that speak upwards of 70% of the world’s languages. Languages, like many species, evolved frequently and are unique to different places. Losing a language means losing important knowledge about many species that are currently facing extinction. It is time to force key organizations to start paying attention to language conservation in biodiversity hotspots, the most threatened environments of the world.

Industrialization has wiped out many biodiversity hotspots, and in many cases, the cultures and languages of the people that lived there. Researchers have speculated that 50-90% of the world’s current languages will be wiped out by the end of the 21st century. When these languages disappear, stories and key cultural attributes are wiped out with them while the languages of the ‘industrial world’ take over. When 70% of the world’s languages are in biodiversity hotspots, and species are disappearing 1000 times faster than ever before, it looks like there is a grim future for both languages as well as many species of plants and animals.

Biodiversity hotspots are found on every continent in the world, excluding Antarctica. Areas with the highest threats of language extinction are in central South America, the Northwest Pacific Plateau, central and eastern Siberia, and northern Australia.

In the central regions of South America, a people known as the Kallawaya speak a language passed from father to son, which contains information about thousands of herbal remedies and medicinal plants. If the Kallawaya language dies, so will this information, as well as information about how to survive in their biologically-rich and continuously threatened region of the Amazon. They represent just one key example as to why language conservation is so important. When the last speaker of a language dies, the knowledge contained in that language dies with it.

Projects implemented by Enduring Voices  and the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, for example, must collaborate with larger institutions and put greater efforts into conserving the world’s endangered languages, and subsequently, the world’s endangered species. Organizations like United Nations Population Fund and the World Environmental Organization (an organization dedicated to preserving the natural diversity of plant and animal life) must collaborate with organizations that are dedicated to language conservation. Together they can begin large-scale projects aimed at preserving endangered languages and cultures as well as endangered species.

Sign this petition if you agree that saving the world’s endangered languages is crucial in saving the world’s biological diversity and natural resources.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear United Nations Population Fund, World Environmental Organization, and organizations dedicated to language preservation,

Saving the world’s endangered languages is crucial to saving the world in general. Protecting endangered species, as well as protecting endangered languages, are both keys to preserving the natural diversity of our planet. The world’s natural diversity contributes to our wealth in medicines, economic resources, and all other aspects of human life.

Your organizations, which are dedicated to bettering the human condition as well as preserving endangered species, must focus immediate attention towards language preservation. Saving languages saves information. Saving languages contributes to a better understanding of biodiversity hotspots, which will in turn save both endangered species as well as cultures. Your organizations should collectively aim to preserve the uniqueness of the human condition, as well as the biological diversity of the natural world; both of which are under constant attack.

Efforts must be put towards recording and preserving the languages that are currently dying out at an exceedingly rapid rate in biodiversity hotspots. Up to 90% of the world’s languages will be wiped out by the end of the 21st century if conditions continue down the same path of destruction. Invasive species continue to wipe out the biodiversity of the planet. Languages and cultures of the industrialized world continue to wipe out the languages and cultures prominently found in biodiversity hotspots.

Please focus efforts and attention towards saving these languages, for the good of man and the good of the environment.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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466 Signatures

  • Eric von Borstel
  • Mal Gaff
  • Hermann Kastner
  • sheila childs
  • joan walker
  • jeff hopkins
  • Holly Hall
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