Inglis, Dylan, & Unai Pascual (2021). On the links between nature’s values and language. People and Nature. 17 pp. (ePub in advance of print). (doi: 10.1002/pan3.10205) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10205) (Open Access: https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pan3.10205)

Abstract: Recent research into the plural values about nature is focusing on relational values as a concept through which to better understand the breadth and importance of situated human–nature relations. However, potential relevance of language as a mediating factor in relational values has not been sufficiently examined. To investigate the links between language and values, we explore the influence of the ancient non-Indo-European Basque language (‘Euskara’) upon people’s relationships with mountain forests in the Western Pyrenees of the Basque Country. Results based on triangulation of data from Q-methodology, focus groups and a socio-demographic survey indicate that while relational values are highly rated in all principal viewpoints about local forests, there is an emergent perspective that emphasises Euskara’s key role in relations with the forest via cultural identity and place attachment. We conclude that positive relational values linked to Euskara may be seen as key levers for local sustainability transitions. The fact that positive rapports with language can have a meaningful role in human–nature relations points to the need for further research into the consequential links between biological and linguistic diversity.

Unai Pascual <unai.pascual@bc3research.org> is in the Basque Centre for Climate Change and Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain; and in the Centre for Environment and Development, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

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