By Darja Kranjc
Contribute to the database of sustainable traditional cultural practices, knowledge and ways of living in karst and other cave areas around the world and help human civilization (people, heritage experts, natural field scientists and engineers) design holistic solutions for the uncertain times to come. What better way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the UNESCO MAB program.
According to UNESCO and Council of Europe (Agenda 21), culture and its heritage constitute the fourth pillar of sustainable development, i.e. they combine ecological, social and economic perspectives in a community and make it suitable for the way of life of the local population.
Tangible and intangible heritage should not be only protected and exhibited, but it should live on. This means that heritage should be respectfully and carefully upgraded and modified (not banalized) with the help of heritage’s experts according to contemporary needs and demands as well.
In past decades, we are faced more and more with shifts in our set ways of thinking. Due to changes in local climate and consequently in local nature as a system, even nature sometimes prevents the (once local) traditional way of living. The traditional knowledge as part of heritage that the system was built upon can no longer be applied to the changed circumstances in local nature, at least not without deeper understanding and careful upgrade.
If the climate in our area is warming up, should we not look at traditional solutions of similar regions that used to be warmer already in the past and try to upgrade our solutions to theirs?
Do we have limestone or other cave regions worldwide in different climate zones?
Should we not share our knowledge and help each other with traditional solutions?
Should we not engage local population that are still true barriers of their own traditional knowledge from karst or other cave landscapes around the globe and let them connect with the help of experts?
Would this change our community identities?
Would we lose our own cultural heritage and identity?
Experts should be included, meticulously recording the processes of adaptation and adoption. They should ensure a documented line between what is an adopted foreign nation’s traditional solution or its upgrade and what is an original local traditional element.
But before that, we need to know what we have. Let us build the database for all of us to share and use as ground material for evaluating different practices and developing innovative ideas.
It is not important how much is collected, but the act of collecting itself. Sharing and learning from members of our local community and beyond about the traditional sustainable cultural elements/solutions for surviving in karst and other caves’ landscapes in different climate zones. Letting ourselves be inspired by our ancestors’ wisdom and building a network with it.