With maps, researcher aims to bridge gap between scientists, indigenous experts
University of Kansas release, 11 July 2012

KANSAS, USA: Due to historical and cultural factors, dialogue about environmental change between two crucial groups, scientists and indigenous experts, remains largely ineffective. “There are indigenous ways of knowing and strategizing about environmental change,” said Margaret Pearce, assistant professor of geography at the University of Kansas. “Those are different from non-indigenous people. They’re different because they’re based on disparate worldviews. It can be as basic as the separation between science and religion, or perceptions of time and ways to measure distance. These kinds of differences then influence the failure of dialogue between indigenous and non-indigenous experts regarding environmental change. It’s a very entrenched historical and cultural lack of communication.” Now, using cartography as a tool, Pearce is set to help blend local, indigenous knowledge and outside, scientific understanding of environmental adaptation into a visual entity clear to both groups. Her work is based on recent research conducted in the North Pare Mountains of Tanzania as part of a collaborative study titled “Linking Local Knowledge” funded by the National Science Foundation. Read the release …