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Why culture matters in conservation

Culture and conservation are inextricably linked. It is vital to protect culture for its own sake. It is also vital to protect culture to protect our planet.

Indigenous peoples represent just 5% of the global population but look after 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. They are its most effective guardians and if we are to win in the dual fights against climate crisis and wilderness destruction, we must protect the protectors.


Culture, knowledge, language, land and ocean are all connected and all inter-twine.









Our history with Papua New Guinea

We have a long and much loved history with PNG!


Our founder and CEO, Chris Rainier, is an acclaimed explorer, photographer and film-maker who has worked for the last four decades to help document and celebrate indigenous knowledge and language around the world. Before working for The National Geographic for some twenty years, Chris spent much of each year for ten years exploring your beautiful country. His photography documentation is housed at the Papua New Guinea National Archives and in his book Where Masks Still Dance: New Guinea which was published in 1996.


New Guinea is a land of remarkable language and cultural knowledge diversity. In a world increasingly overwhelmed with technology, it is a unique land of ancient cultures and traditions that have been born of thousands of years of evolution. While it is important of course that all countries strive for and embrace education, technology and the benefits of the internet, it is also imperative that those with deep tapestries of traditional culture and heritage preserve the traditions of the past and maintain and celebrate their rich, beautiful and profoundly important heritage. New Guinea is finding that balance.


Chris has been blessed to have spent a great deal of time exploring almost every region of New Guinea and to have travelled and photographed throughout its ecosystems and the tribal areas of both New Guinea  and West Papua.


There is no other country on the planet today with so much unique biodiversity and traditional cultural diversity. We must all work together to protect and celebrate them both.


Our work at The Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation


Our Foundation helps indigenous communities protect their culture and their land and we work in areas where both local culture and biodiversity are endangered.


Founded and run by Chris and former lawyer Olivia McKendrick, we have community center projects around the world.


Each of our projects is tailored to suit the wishes and needs of the communities with which we work but they tend to involve four core elements: 1) the building of a community center to act as a focal point for cultural celebration and revitalization, 2) a comprehensive documentation of the local culture, language, anthropology and biodiversity, 3) promotion of economic opportunities to help local communities stay and thrive on their land and 4) workshops for community storytelling, photography and film-making.


We are excited to work with the New Guinea Binatang Research Center to help the community in Madang to protect their culture and land.

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Why Culture Matters | #COP26

Why Culture Matters | #COP26

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