philosophy: Preserving Culture and Environment
Cultural and environmental heritage is a
two-way process between past, (present) and future. It is
about the harmony between the integration of tradition and
modernity. The capacity of appreciating cultural heritage
or of being “surprised” and marveling at others is a key instrument
in understanding different cultures. It is the key to tolerance
and multiplicity. Cultural heritage contributes to establishing
and maintaining peace between people. Similarly, the capacity
of appreciating environmental heritage or of “being” surprised
and marveling at Nature is one of the instruments to understand
the environment we live in. It is the key to protecting natural
resources and beauties. Environmental heritage contributes
to the establishment of sustainable production systems that
respect and protect the environment. Cultural and environmental
heritages have therefore become complex and fragile realities
that play important roles in the development of societies.
For millennia, Ethiopia was an inaccessible
highland that has cultivated fascinating cultural jewels that
can surprise and inspire the world. Ethiopian heritage goes
far beyond the 7 sites registered by UNESCO , but its architecture,
natural beauties, wildlife as well as intangible cultural
heritage such as music, history, legend, poetry, religion
and sense of sincere hospitality are unique in the world.
Yet, as in any other places in the world, the very essence
of Ethiopian culture and tradition are being gradually abandoned
for what are locally perceived as “modern ways” of life.
Ethiopia, was, for millions of years, an
isolated highland surrounded by vast stretches of dry-land
and deserts where plants, insects and wildlife have evolved
away from the rest of the planet. Ethiopia is an exceptional
centre of plant and wildlife bio-diversity. Coffee (coffea
arabica), enset (Ensete ventricosum) or teff (Eragrostis teff)
are only a few of the best known indigenous species that have
evolved over millions of years on the Ethiopian highlands.
However, Ethiopia's environmental and agricultural heritage
is being severely damaged. Once covered with thick forests,
most of the Ethiopian Highlands are now barren. Unique environmental
resources are “eroding” away and urgently need to be preserved.
In Ethiopia, over 85 per cent of the population relies directly
on the country's natural resource base to meet their daily
needs. The Livelihood of millions of rural Ethiopians and
their future economic opportunities depends on today’s natural
resources protection and rehabilitation. Conducting economic
and development activities while respecting nature can provide
some guidance for sound economic development.