A People’s Ecology: Explorations in Sustainable Living presents a tapestry of perspectives on food and the interplay of health, cultural ecology, and environment, which are the fabric and foundation of all sustainable living It offers personal stories, documented information, traditional understandings, and speculations on future directions. Each contribution calls on us to reclaim our human heritage of “caring for our home fires” — a metaphor that can inspire the revitalization of our connections to the earth, all living things, and each other.
The writers examine the underlying ecology of sustainable living rooted in the historical traditions, environmental practices, and a sense of place of peoples of the Southwest; and they describe the impact that disruption of this way of life continues to have on health, well-being, communal identity. Drawing on an indigenous paradigm of “healthy environment, healthy culture, healthy people,” this book explores possibilities of applying the principles of sustainable living in both traditional and nontraditional communities.
The authors include Pueblo, Navajo,and Mohawk Indians as well as Hispanic Americans from New Mexico and Arizona. They make a substantial contribution to our knowledge of many subjects, including foods, food traditions, and farming in the Southwest Pueblos; health problems that have resulted from loss of traditional diet; Hispanic folk healing; efforts to restore the self reproducing food plants that are the foundation of sustainable agriculture; Native land-use and environmental restoration; and alternative housing. This wide-ranging collection pulls together inspirational ideas and practical approaches that will enable individuals and communities to build on an “indigenous” desire for sustainable living that lies deep within each of us.