‘For 30 years or so scientists have referred to the diversity of life on Earth as “biological diversity”, or just “biodiversity”. They usually define biodiversity as operating at three levels: the diversity of genes within any particular species; the diversity of species in a given place; and the diversity of habitat types such as forests, coral reefs, and so on. But does that cover it? Not really. A fourth level has been almost entirely overlooked: cultural diversity.
Culture is knowledge and skills that flow socially from individual to individual and generation to generation. It’s not in genes. Socially learned skills, traditions and dialects that answer the question of “how we live here” are crucial to helping many populations survive – or recover. Crucially, culturally learned skills vary from place to place. In the human family many cultures, underappreciated, have been lost. Culture in the other-than-human world has been almost entirely missed.’