What is it about?

People's cultural ethics and knowledge impact the decisions they make regarding the use of resources and strategies employed for waste management. This is why local culture affects waste management practices. This is true even for the First Nations of Canada. Their culture links them closely to nature and the land they live on. It teaches them to live in harmony with their environment and to respect and protect it. Improper management of municipal solid waste (MSW) impacts this deep connection. In fact, plans for managing MSW in these regions do not consider the culture of the people living there. A case study done in 2023 looked to remedy this. It described how the culture of two First Nations in Canada affected their management of MSW. This study has unveiled the five cultural factors that influence efforts of managing waste in the First Nations. These included their culture of reducing waste, taking care of each other, protecting their land, respecting their land, and maintaining a connection with their land. In the past, these factors did help the First Nations use natural resources and manage their waste more responsibly. But now, they only apply to naturally degradable waste. The culture loss and increased use of packaged goods, however, is creating waste which does not decompose easily.

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Why is it important?

This study indicates the need to sustain the First Nation people’s knowledge of their culture and make them aware of its importance in managing waste. It also highlights that MSW management bodies should work with First Nations to include the identified cultural factors in MSW management programs. KEY TAKEAWAY: This study shows that apart from technical solutions there is also a need to pursue cultural solutions to improve the management of MSW. This research relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals: • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production • SDG 13: Climate Action • SDG 15: Life on Land

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: “A lot of people ignore our culture when it comes to waste management”: examining the impacts of culture on solid waste management in two Canadian First Nations, AlterNative An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, March 2023, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/11771801231163635.
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