The Ecologist September 1971: the onslaught of globalisation

Ecologist Magazine September 1971
40 years ago Mike Allaby wrote about Tibetan exiles living in Wales and how their success points to hope for maintaining cultural diversity...

Forty Years Ago: Tibetans in Wales

In September 1971, Michael Allaby wrote about a group of Tibetan people living in Wales. The Tibetans living in Wales were surrounding by a global society. In order to protect their identity the Tibetans practiced modes of subsistence agriculture at a farming school called the ‘Tibetan Farm School (STRIVE) Ltd.’

The farming school was funded by a foundation called STRIVE which intended to change the emphasis of agricultural methods to subsistence-based rather than cash crop.  The school provided a unique situation for the Tibetans who were permitted to practice their natural forms of subsistence land use and also provide a living for their families around a larger global society. 

Allaby writes, ‘If ways can be devised by which fairly small groups of Tibetans are able to live their own life surrounded by a society, it will mean there can be a future for minority peoples all over the world.’ Foundations like STRIVE are essential to finding ways to assimilate tribal cultures into modern society.  If tribal communities are assimilated into society, and they are able to sustain their cultural, it is a win-win for both the tribes and modern society.

Despite STRIVE’s efforts to help indigenous culture, Western lifestyles have continued to grow and invade indigenous cultures around the globe. Survival international, an organisation dedicated to the movement of saving tribal culture and tribal people, reports that there are around 150 million tribes in over 60 countries remaining. Since, 1989, the International Labour Convention 169 (ILO 169) recognises and protects tribal people’s land ownership rights under law. Despite the law being passed, only 22 countries have ratified it since 1989... progress?


More from this author