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Local Environmental Knowledge, Talk, and Skepticism: Using ‘LES’ to Distinguish ‘LEK’ from ‘LET’ in Newfoundland

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Abstract

The actual evidence observed in studies of LEK (local environmental knowledge) is nearly always talk about the environment, or what we refer to as LET (local environmental talk), with the claim of studying LEK usually being built upon the implicit assumption that talk about the environment is the expression of knowledge about the environment. We suggest that it is critically important for researchers to question this assumption, especially when the distinction between LET and LEK is also emphasized by local people themselves. In the case we present here, residents of small fishing villages on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland are routinely skeptical about what other local residents say about the environment; that is, they engage in LES (local environmental skepticism). We suggest that paying explicit attention to LES can help distinguish LEK from LET.

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Palmer, C.T., Wadley, R.L. Local Environmental Knowledge, Talk, and Skepticism: Using ‘LES’ to Distinguish ‘LEK’ from ‘LET’ in Newfoundland. Hum Ecol 35, 749–760 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-006-9108-z

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