Cross-cultural investigation offers unique opportunity for acquiring new knowledge about culture, Nature and different modes of thinking. The panel will focus attention on principles of adaptation of Human Life-support activities to local Nature niches, fixed in Folk/Indigenous cultures.
The role of cultural poly-variations in the life of 21st century society, and, especially, in the process of searching for ways to solve urgent problems of humankind, is a sphere of great interest both for modern Ethnology and for contemporary society. Modern society has reached critical boundaries in many parameters in its use of the biosphere. It is the opinion of investigators in Nature-Society relationships problems, contemporary post-industrial society needs some new approaches, new models, and some major changes in policy affecting Human - Nature relationships. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992) has declared that it is essential for survival that ways be found to sustainable development that guarantee equal possibilities in using Nature for future generations and for Modern people. Reaching a balance (harmonizing relationships between nature and society), in a long-term perspective, can be achieved through the active use of technologies and practices friendly to nature, and through technologies directed toward cardinal principles of adaptation of Human Life-support activities to local niches which are sometimes modeled in folk/indigenous cultures. These non-industrial societies have survived through fixed unique decisions in traditions of using effective technologies that are friendly to Nature and that guarantee viable human life-support activities in a long-term regime. We hope to invite ethnologists to discuss the role/value of Indigenous/Folk cultures in solving society's urgent problems in the light of discourses on sustainability.