In the years since its conception, permaculture has become a successful approach to designing sustainable systems. Its adaptability and emphasis on meeting human needs means that it can be utilized in every climatic and cultural zone. However, at the moment the large proportion of practitioners are only likely to be inspired individuals and there is a distinct lack of broadscale permaculture projects. Nevertheless, permaculture has also been used successfully as a development tool to help meet the needs of indigenous communities facing degraded standards of living from development of land and the introduction of industrialized food.
The term indigenous peoples can be used to describe any ethnic group of people who inhabit a geographic region with which they have the earliest known historical connection, alongside more recent immigrants who have populated the region and may be greater in number. However, several widely accepted formulations, which define the term indigenous peoples in stricter terms, have been put forward by prominent and internationally recognized organizations, such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank. Indigenous peoples in this article is used in such a narrower sense.
Other related terms for indigenous peoples include aborigines, aboriginal people, native people, first people, first nations, Amerigine, and autochthonous (this last term is derived from Greek, meaning “sprung from the earth”). Indigenous peoples may often be used in preference to these or other terms as a neutral replacement, where such terms may have taken on negative or pejorative connotations by their prior association and use. It is the preferred term in use by the United Nations and its subsidiary organizations.
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