Lost in Translation
The meaningful incorporation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into large-scale northern infrastructure construction can improve sustainability practises and broaden our conceptual understanding of nature (Sidorova and Virla 2022). TEK refers to systems of collective knowledge production, established gradually by members of Indigenous and local communities and transferred through generations (Agrawala et al. 2010). While
the ‘traditional’ part of the term TEK can be problematic, as the word may connote something old and static, we stress here that TEK is a dynamic, living tradition adaptable to new conditions and knowledge. Another key element in infrastructure projects is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). EIAs are used to evaluate the likelihood of negative environmental impacts before deciding whether to move forward with a project. They also attempt to develop and implement strategies to avoid or reduce those negative impacts as conditions of approval for the project (Agrawala et al. 2010). This paper examines a particular tension that arises between TEK and EIA.
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