Ezra Rashkow, associate professor of history whose research focuses on South Asian and environmental history, was interviewed for The Conversation about sandalwood. Since it is a natural resource, efforts have been made to conserve it, but limiting sandalwood’s use conflicts with its cultural significance to many people, and learning how those cultures protect it can help in sustainability. Rashkow explained how the concept of endangered species conservation has changed over time, shifting away from an anthropocentric view of the universe.
“Early in the 1960s and 70s, a conservationist attitude and mentality put other forms of life in the center. A more biocentric kind of focus with the environmentalist movements started to recognize non-human species as endangered of disappearing and vanishing as well, and that process impacts individuals and communities who are living in proximity with nature,” Rashkow says.
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Written by Donaelle Benoit