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Principle 3: A Multiple-Scale Approach

In parallel with biophysical processes, biocultural research and decision-making processes take place simultaneously at local and national levels as well as at the global scale. Consequently, we have to work at multiple scales to enhance the knowledge base in order to manage the extensive subantarctic territory and to monitor impending changes resulting from socioeconomic and conservation projects. To implement a multiple-scale approach at Omora Park, we defined three working scales:

  • 1 Local scale, which includes a specific research site and the Sub-Antarctic Cape Hom Center in Puerto Williams in association with regional universities, national parks, and a UNESCO biosphere reserve;
  • 2 National scale, which was achieved through the establishment at Omora Park of the Chilean Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research network (Chile-LTSER);
  • 3 International scale, which is being implemented by linking the Chilean LTSER with the International Long-Term Ecological Research network (ILTER) and by the SBC Program co-coordinated by IEB and the University of Magallanes in Chile and the University of North Texas in the USA (

South America plays a critical role in the context of global climate change and, more broadly, of global socio-environmental change. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) launched an assessment on “Nature, People, and Values” that is examining how prevailing global discourses do not adequately include the diversity of languages, and their ontologies, metaphysics, epistemologies, and ethics, which are rooted in the heterogeneous biocultural mosaic of planetary regions. With the Omora Park research team we are now completing the establishment of the Subantarctic Biocultural Center in Puerto Williams, where philosophers are invited to play a key role in overcoming the limited inter-linguistic and intercultural dialogue among philosophers and other thinkers in environmental ethics that resides in different regions of the world. To reorient trends of global change that threaten the sustainability of life, we consider that it is essential to develop philosophical work that can re-establish a hierarchy of values that ranks the value of life above solely economic values.

In sum, the success of this project as a form of field philosophy has depended on collaborative teamwork, with kindness and respect for differing people and institutions. Collaborators are valued as colleagues, including members of indigenous communities, policymakers, educators, artists, government authorities, and Navy officers, as well as academic researchers. Over the years, academic collaborators have come from a number of research areas, from philosophy to the arts, tourism, journalism, and the social and natural sciences. Our collaborators, in the broadest sense, have ranged in age from preschool children to community elders. The success of the project has relied on people with a wide range of abilities and skills working together toward the common goal of conserving and valuing biological and cultural diversity, and the wellbeing of diverse socio-cultural communities. It has also depended on long-term in situ teamwork, with persistence as the project has grown and changed through two decades. And, finally, creativity has been expressed by broadening our philosophical conceptions of environmental ethics, by including biocultural diversity, socio-environmental justice, and horizontal teamwork to develop an effective conservation policy, and by expanding the scales in which we work.

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