Words For Change and Sustainability

The DALUHAY concept uses words that many people have not heard of before. In addition we sometimes put words together in different ways to help describe ideas, opportunities and activities.  indeed we sometimes define words in ways that may not be considered ‘common’ or even dictionary based! Although intend no disrespect for the English language, we present below some general definitions (some, but not all referenced) to help us with our goals.

The idea is to focus on words as a communication tool to bring about positive change for a sustainable planet; sustainable livelihoods, sustainable environment – basically sustainable life! When reading about our work and projects, if you have any questions – just ask! There are a few key terms and reference that can help visitors to our site, in terms of understanding the direction of DALUHAY, possible roles for individuals and the context of our activities. Below are some of the key words and phrase with a bit of an explanation on how we fit the terms and ideas together – starting with DALUHAY itself!

DALUHAY: is derived from the Philippine phrase ‘Daloy ng Buhay‘ which means Flow of Life in English. We chose this phrase to represent our activities because it captures our idea of what we feel our lives and work are about. Daluhay is dedicated to entering into the Flow of Life in a way that helps the flow to continue, for cultures and for the planet as a whole. We see the connection between the health of the environment and the health of people as being intrinsically connected. This is discussed further below under the term Ecohealth. From a Daluhay perspective, perhaps the biggest global challenge is linking the positive desires and energy of individuals and organizations with change – so enhancing their Flow of Life for the goals of sustaining the planet and the future of the human species. We selected this challenge for our URL definition and is discussed below under Ecosystemics.

ACTION RESEARCH (AR): The Journal of Action Research (www.arj.sagepub.com) links to the following statement “We see our work as providing models for increasing the relevance of conventional social research to wider society.  What makes our work fundamental to the revitalization of social research more generally lies in its orientation towards taking action, its reflexivity, the significance of its impacts and that it evolves from partnership and participation.” The way that Daluhay views the relationship between people and the environment is best explained below by the term Ethnoecology which is the focus of our AR approach. Action Research as a concept can be further researched through any internet search engine.

ECOHEALTH: is a term that is intended to focus on the connectedness of human and environmental health. The Journal of Ecohealth was established to focus on this linkage (www.ecohealth.net). For Daluhay, ecohealth describes a combination of approaches that are critical for many of the projects that we are involved with. In starting our Daluhay organization, one of the main areas of focus has been to promote the recognition of the Phillippine fisherfolk alliance of  Marine Protected Area Managers as Ecohealth Practitioners because they work for both the health of their people and the environment. There is a journal dedicated to Ecohealth research and the concept can be further researched on the internet, again with any search engine.

ECOSYSTEMICS: is a bit of an obscure term, used sometimes in ecology to talk about specific and/or general ecosystem functions. We have chosen to focus the definition of the word specifically on what we see as the most critical challenge that exists in ecology: linking the positive desires and energy of individuals and organizations with change that they can identify and relate to.  We feel that the lack of public engagement on the sustainability of the life on this planet is because people just can not see how they can make a difference.  The path that we are developing for Daluhay or in partnership with others takes into consideration that planet earth is indeed on an energy budget! We consider the planet as one organism, first proposed by the Gaia Hypothesis and base our resource perspectives in part on the study of energetics.

ENERGETICS: can be considered as the study of energy transformations. Many of us have heard the phrase ‘energy cannot be created or destroyed’ and this concept is connected to the study of how energy is transformed. Generally this could include the exchange of energy between the sun and planet earth, but more often it is associated with the exchanges here on earth. As a field of study, animal energetics was pretty much defined by Max Kleiber in his milestone book The Fire of Life.  A great deal of work has been done on wildlife energetics and this is an area of expertise within Daluhay. One example application of energetics is that the future of the polar bear and their possible (many would say probable) decline as a species can be measured, predicted and even possibly mitigated through the application of energetics.

ETHNOECOLOGY: is the idea of seeing people and the environment together as one system. It could be said that Ecology as a science emerged from the study of biology and popularized the idea of conservation, particularly within the fields of academic science. Ethnoecology sees people and the environment as inseparable, based upon the perspective that humans effect and are a factor in every major large ecosystem unit in the world. Ethnoecology systems can be studied at a variety of levels. for example, a subsistence culture within their support systems can be studied as an ethnoecological unit.  However, ethneocology can also be used to study how a city functions – although it is indeed more difficult in many ways! This functional relationship between people and the ecosystems is also considered by other agencies. For example, the Maximo T. Kalaw Institute of Sustainable Development in Manila uses a related approach called the Ecosystem Centered Community-Based Organization and Management protocol.

GAIA HYPOTHESIS: The Gaia Hypothesis was first proposed by John Lovelock. His perspective in establishing the Gaia Hypothesis was that a living planet functions like an organism in itself. In formulating Daluhay the Search for Gaia was a major factor in linking the energetics of polar bears to the development of fisherfolk and education systems in the the tropics! Indeed, Daluhay believes that the long term survival of the iconic polar bear may well be decided by how we approach global equity and the advancement of less developed countries. As a result our approach to Path Development will emphasize thinking and acting both at a local and global level.

GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS: are developed as a cooperative approach by marginalized individuals to form community-based groups that help empower and advance their cause to uplift their lives. They are different from other Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that act as catalysts in that grassroots organizations consist of the people that are directly in need as a result of inequitable access to opportunities, services and political expression.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: is the underlying principle for all of Daluhay’s interactions with communities and grassroots organizations. In itself public participation is a field of academe and there are standards or levels of public participation that have been defined (www.iap2.org/associations/4748/files/spectrum.pdf). Daluhay is based on the concept that development should be planned from the outset with an ongoing exchange through public participation and the provision of external ‘expert’ opinions. In this sense, Daluhay advocates a local dissemination of expert opinions that are pertinent to sustainability at the community level.

SUSTAINABILITY: There are currently many definitions and uses of this term in both the academic and popular literature. For the purposes of Daluhay and its programs, sustainability is considered from an ethnoecology standpoint; involving the viability and well being of people and the other parts of the ecosystem for future generations. We believe that this involves the further understanding of the planets energy budget and how this is manifested in resources such as those directly and indirectly involved in the food security of humans.