1st Edition

Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Global Pandemics Biodiversity and Planetary Health Beyond Covid-19

By Ngozi Finette Unuigbe Copyright 2021
    94 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    94 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book demonstrates the importance and potential role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in foreseeing and curbing future global pandemics.

    The reduction of species diversity has increased the risk of global pandemics and it is therefore not only imperative to articulate and disseminate knowledge on the linkages between human activities and the transmission of viruses to humans, but also to create policy pathways for operationalizing that knowledge to help solve future problems. Although this book has been prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it lays a policy foundation for the effective management or possible prevention of similar pandemics in the future. One effective way of establishing this linkage with a view to promoting planet health is by understanding the traditional ecological knowledge of indigenous peoples with a view to demonstrating the significant impact it has on keeping nature intact. This book argues for the deployment of traditional ecological knowledge for land use management in the preservation of biodiversity as a means for effectively managing the transmission of viruses from animals to humans and ensuring planetary health. The book is not projecting traditional ecological knowledge as a panacea to pandemics but rather accentuating its critical role in the effective mitigation of future pandemics.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of traditional ecological knowledge, indigenous studies, animal ecology, environmental ethics and environmental studies more broadly.

    1. Pandemics and the Environment

    2. Why Traditional Ecological Knowledge Matters

    3. Complementarity of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Mainstream Science

    4. Restoring Land, Community and Health

    5. Synergizing TEK and Mainstream Science to Promote Planetary Health


    Ngozi Finette Unuigbe is a researcher in international environmental law, policy and ethics whose research engages the stewardship ethic of indigenous knowledge, within the context of biodiversity conservation. She is currently a Professor at the University of Benin, Nigeria.

    All readers, irrespective of their academic specialty will find this book stimulating as it raises critical issues around the need for respect for the earth and the restoration of traditional ecological ethos to live in harmony with Nature. Following the global tragedy caused by the COVID-19 and the unpredictable nature of zoonotic pandemics, Ngozi Unuigbe argues for a complement of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and mainstream science in mitigating future pandemics.

    The scope and variety of literature explored demonstrates the need for Multiple Evidence Based (MEB) approach to identify knowledge gaps and the opportunities for collaborative research, as well as the need for urban planning and adaptive management.

    This well-written volume promotes the need for better recognition of environmental ethics and planetary health for the wellbeing of the entire ecosystem. It is a must read for everyone interested in the sustainability of natural resources and the empowerment of indigenous communities.Doyin Ogunyemi, Public Health Physician, University of Lagos, Nigeria.

    Indigenous wisdom is essential to solving the global ecological crisis. In particular, Traditional Ecological Knowledge can help inspire a new generation of Earth-centered laws, sciences, social norms, and ways of living in harmony with Nature. In her book Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Global Pandemics, Professor Ngozi Finette Unuigbe takes a critical look at today's most pressing environmental challenges and puts forward a compelling blueprint for how Indigenous worldviews can galvanize a thriving future for the planet. Grant Wilson, Executive Director of Earth Law Center and editor of Earth Law: Emerging Ecocentric Law-- A Guide for Practitioners.

    Finette Unuigbe’s "Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Global Pandemics" is a clarion call for attending to what is already known but unfortunately often forgotten -- the role that nature plays in making the world habitable, hospitable and possible for humans. This book makes an important case in support of ecological diversity and intactness to prevent the incubation and spread of zoonotic and other diseases, including Covid-19. Policymakers and medical health professionals in particular should read it before the sun sets.James R. May, Esq. Professor of Law, Widener University Delaware Law School; Representative for Rights of Nature, International Council of Environmental Law

    The book is of an astonishing actuality. It is underpinned by an excellent literature review, which proves Biodiversity loss, and global health burdens are intrinsically related. The COVID-19 and other pandemics of this century have a common origin: the destruction of nature. We are nature and the suffering of mother earth is our pain.

    The greatest achievement of this book is nonetheless the solid description of how Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Mainstream Scientific Knowledge can work together and find a "peaceful coexistence" between humans and non-human beings. Starting from important evidence that challenges the western common sense, the book proves that the way indigenous peoples manage their living place is the ground of keeping nature balanced and flourishing.

    Finally, it invites us to accept the challenge of having the best of the two worlds, combining these two knowledge systems for a co-production and an inter-cultural brokerage. We are convinced that there is no other way to survive the pandemics and live in harmony with nature on this Earth - Gaia. Not only the reading of this book is necessary, but above all putting its content into practice is urgent.Christianne Derani, Professor in International Economic and Environmental Law, Federal University of Central Catarina, Brazil. Formerly, Instructor to Indigenous Peoples on Biodiversity Conservation.