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International Review of Education

, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 847–870 | Cite as

The difference biocultural “place” makes to community efforts towards sustainable development: Youth participatory action research in a marine protected area of Colombia

  • Jennifer McRuer
  • Margarita Zethelius
Original Paper

Abstract

The Latin American concept of “(collective) biocultural heritage” arose from Indigenous knowledge and practices with respect to local natural resources and environment, including the food being hunted, the crops being grown, and the landscapes being created. The term is now used more widely to describe community practices, goals and priorities that are determined, maintained and managed by diverse cultural relationships with “place”. The study presented in this article investigated biocultural place relationships in connection with well-being and sustainability. In the context of learning and action for sustainability in Isla Grande, an island in a marine protected area of Colombia, this study targeted the significance of place to the everyday lives of Afro-Colombian youth – from their perspective. Beyond aiming to merely observe and collect data, the methodology included a research design which actively involved local youth and incorporated the aspect of place. The authors describe and reflect on the processes, learning and action that emerged throughout the research, as well as the study’s limitations. They discuss broad implications in terms of how place relationships influence research, and how research influences place relationships. Local implications include supporting the voice of youth in community efforts to re-imagine and transform place relationships in response to critical place issues such as climate change, top-down resource management, privatisation, commodification and growing environmental injustice.

Keywords

education for sustainable development youth voice participatory and action-oriented methodologies collective biocultural heritage buen vivir restorative development community-led conservation 

Résumé

Importance du « milieu » bioculturel dans les efforts communautaires pour le développement durable : recherche-action participative avec des jeunes dans une zone de protection marine en Colombie – Le concept latino-américain de « patrimoine bioculturel (collectif) » est issu des connaissances et pratiques autochtones relatives aux ressources naturelles locales et à l’environnement, par exemple la nourriture issue de la chasse, la récolte de cultures et l’aménagement de paysages. Le terme est désormais utilisé plus largement pour décrire les pratiques communautaires, les objectifs et priorités qui sont déterminés, maintenus et gérés par diverses relations culturelles avec le « milieu » . L’étude présentée dans cet article traite les relations avec les milieux bioculturels sous l’angle du bien-être et de la pérennité. Dans le contexte de l’apprentissage et de l’action pour le développement durable à Isla Grande, île située dans une zone de protection marine en Colombie, l’étude examine l’importance du milieu dans la vie quotidienne des jeunes afro-colombiens, à partir de leur point de vue. Au-delà de la simple observation et de la collecte de données, la méthodologie comporte un modèle de recherche qui implique activement la jeunesse locale et intègre l’aspect du milieu. Les auteures décrivent et analysent les processus, l’apprentissage et l’action qui sont apparus tout au long de l’étude ainsi que les limites de cette recherche. Elles présentent les vastes implications quant à l’influence des liens avec le milieu sur la recherche, et inversement. Parmi les implications locales figure le soutien de l’opinion des jeunes dans les efforts communautaires pour réinventer et transformer les relations avec le milieu, en réaction aux questions centrales tels le changement climatique, la gestion descendante des ressources, la privatisation, la marchandisation et l’injustice environnementale croissante.

Resumen

La diferencia biocultural “lugar” hace a los esfuerzos de la comunidad para el desarrollo sostenible: Investigación participativa de la acción de la juventud en un área marina protegida de Colombia – El concepto latinoamericano de “patrimonio biocultural (colectivo)” surgió del conocimiento y las prácticas indígenas con respecto a los recursos naturales locales y el medio ambiente, incluidos los alimentos que se cazan, los cultivos que se cultivan y los paisajes que se crean. El término ahora se usa más ampliamente para describir prácticas, metas y prioridades de la comunidad que son determinadas, mantenidas y manejadas por diversas relaciones culturales con “lugar”. El estudio presentado en este artículo se centro en la investigación sobre las relaciones bioculturales en relación con el bienestar y la sostenibilidad de la comunidad y el territorio. En el contexto del aprendizaje y la acción para la sostenibilidad en Isla Grande (Área Marina Protegida de las Islas del Rosario y San Bernardo de Colombia), este estudio se centró en la importancia del lugar para la vida cotidiana de los jóvenes afrocolombianos. Además de tener como objetivo meramente observar y recopilar datos, la metodología incluyó un diseño de investigación que involucró activamente a los jóvenes locales e incorporó el aspecto del lugar. Los autores describen y reflexionan sobre los procesos, el aprendizaje y la acción que surgieron a lo largo de la investigación, así como las limitaciones del estudio. Se discuten las implicaciones en términos de cómo las relaciones de lugar influyen en la investigación, y cómo la investigación influye las relaciones de lugar. Las implicaciones locales incluyen: apoyar la voz de los jóvenes en los esfuerzos de la comunidad para volver a imaginar y transformar las relaciones de lugar en respuesta a problemas críticos como el cambio climático, la administración de recursos de arriba hacia abajo, la privatización, la mercantilización y la creciente injusticia ambiental.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Funding was provided by Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (CA) (Grant No. 201311DVC-323316-248297).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational FoundationsUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Alliances for AbundanceCartagenaColombia
  3. 3.MINGAS for Transition Research GroupRozoColombia

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