World Visionaries • Spiritual Practices
One definition of preservation means to "keep alive." The desire to honor and share what we find meaningful seems to be hard-wired into our DNA. Neolithic man created cave art, alphabets began emerging around 2000 B.C. in Egypt, and the Djembe talking drums of Africa have been transmitting messages since 500 A.D. Today, Buddhists still chant centuries old-sutras, Scottish clans still convene for Highland games, many First Nation people hold potlatches on the occasion of major events, and coming-of-age celebrations are held the world-over. Globalization means we get to experience more of the cultural traditions that others hold dear--and, paradoxically, it also means that cultural heritage can become diluted. As well, unfortunately, we humans are not yet so evolved that war and oppression have become obsolete; when cultures have been compromised, preservation is urgent. Read on to meet people who are engaged in the calling of cultural preservation in the realms of tangible culture (such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artifacts), intangible culture (such as folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge), and natural heritage (including culturally significant landscapes, and biodiversity).