Using cases from fishermen, farmers, hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists, the panelists will examine the consequences of different dominant conceptual models of Nature on decision making and practices.
We discuss cultural models of Nature found in distinct environmental and socio-economic contexts in which communities of primary food producers have experienced dramatic effects of climatic change. Primary food producers around the world face severe changes in rainfall, severity of storms, top soil erosion, raising sea level, and reduction in the quality and quantity of available species for hunting and fishing. Cultural models of Nature function as filters in the perception and explanation of these at times devastating changes. We show how these cultural models contribute to the generation of food production practices. Thus, they provide valuable insights into indigenous knowledge to be eventually employed for the implementation of more effective policies. Cultural models also shed light on the complex interaction between human cognition and the environment. Using cases from farmers, horticulturalists, hunter-gatherers, and fishermen, we examine the consequences of different conceptual models of Nature on the perception and explanation of environmental changes, as well as on the decision making processes and daily practices in several primary food producing communities.