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How do we honor traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and at the same time bring traditional cultures into the 21st century? Conversely, how do traditional societies protect themselves from rampant consumerism? In the Petén we saw technology leap from no electricity except personal generators to cell phones and towers everywhere in under five years, when we finally bought our own cell phone here, and at a fraction of the cost of what we pay in the U.S. market. Although the Chinese have figured out to monopolize the internet market here and prices have gone up considerably recently.
One of the most poignant moments I can remember was on a road trip from Flores to Cobán. Out in the middle of seemingly nowhere, a traditionally-dressed woman walked along the side of the broiling asphalt road, nothing but thin plastic flip-flops on her feet. She had a five gallon water jug on her head which she balanced with one hand; it was more than a mile to the next house along the side of the road. In the other hand she held her cell phone up to her ear and she was merrily chatting away as we drove by, oblivious to our presence. That was ten years ago. Even the Traditionals at the Dia del la Raza celebration at Tikal last weekend (see Harmony thread in virtual café) seemed to all have cell phones. It really is something to see a traditional woman with a baby slung across her back whip an I-phone out of her traje or corte (traditional clothing) and say in perfect English: "Hello?"and then carry on in one or more of the twenty-two Mayan dialects.
One can get the best and latest technology right here in the Petén, so who are we kidding when we suggest that traditional cultures might somehow achieve immunity from the crushing economic pressure of the North Atlantic Economic Zone? Do you have any strategies to propose?
Requirement - 100-200 words