Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Faces of Ethnobiology: Fran Lambrick

My name is Fran Lambrick. I am from Oxford and I am studying there now - at the very end of my DPhil. I've been working in Cambodia studying community forestry for the last four years. Some key words to describe my work: sticky, spikey, green, confusing, intriguing, Prey Long forest, swamp forest, resin trees, Kuy people, sa'art (Khmer word meaning beautiful), depressing sometimes, and inspiring other times. Just read that the suggestion was three words! Verbose. I'm also a filmmaker - so key words also include aperture, activism, observation, sequence, light, character, consent, intimacy and battery.

I became interested in ethnobiology because I have always been intrigued by peoples' relationship to the natural world. How can we live sustainably and in close contact with the natural world? Why did so many societies lose their connection to the landscape and ecosystem?

I studied natural sciences as an undergraduate focusing on two different areas - animal behaviour and evolution, and philosophy of environmental education. This represents two of my big passions - how amazing is this complex and bizarre planet that we live on!  And how can we relate as human beings to the environment - what meanings do we create about the natural environment - how is this passed on to future generations?

One of my most memorable experiences  on the path to ethnobiology is from when I was about ten or eleven and I learnt about climate change. I was completely shocked that things hadn't changed - no one seemed to be doing anything about it - and  I thought grown ups are incredibly stupid. I still think that. But now I'm a grown up, so I have to try to hang on to that sense that change is perfectly possible. We just need to be clear that acting on our convictions does make a difference.

In the future I am planning to move to Bhutan! Fingers crossed. I want to study and be involved in environmental education - I'm intrigued by gross national happiness. I really want to live in a place with mountains and forests! And I think I could learn a lot. Scientifically I'd like to research traditional common resource use - forests or water sharing systems. Personally I'd like to get to know people, learn the language. Learn learn learn. And maybe make an ethnographic film.

I'm looking forward to meeting everybody at the congress!

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