What we can learn from Indigenous land management

November 05, 2019

As large-scale agriculture, drought, bushfire and introduced species reduce entire countries' biodiversity and long-term prosperity, Indigenous academics are calling for a fresh look at the governance and practices of mainstream environmental management institutions.

Aboriginal Australians' world view and connection to Country provide a rich source of knowledge and innovations for better land and water management policies when Indigenous decision-making is enacted, the researchers say.

Incorporating more of the spirit and principles of Aboriginal and other First Nations people's appreciation and deep understanding of the landscape and its features has been overlooked or sidelined in the past - to the detriment of the environment, a new report says.

"When Indigenous nations become sovereign partners in environmental management, the power structures and worldviews that underlie decision-making can be productively challenged ... creating new solutions to pressing environmental issues," says Flinders University researcher Dr Samantha Muller, lead author on the paper.

"Indigenous agency and governance is driving innovations in land management worldwide that provide more equitable solutions and strategic approaches to looking after the lands, waters and all living things, particularly in the face of climate change."

in sacred, ethical and reciprocal relationships with nature can enhance and develop more sustainable approaches to living in what many call the age of the Anthropocene (the current period when human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment)."

Ngarrindjeri Nation citizen and director Indigenous Nation Building, Professor Daryle Rigney, with Associate Professor Steven Hemming, previously at Flinders and now the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, have worked with Dr Muller to compare examples of conservation and land management among First Nations groups in Aorearoa/New Zealand and North America with a Ngarrindjeri case study in South Australia.

"One of the most significant acts of colonialism is to impose an understanding of Country as something separate from humans, with decisions based on science and Western institutions," the authors say.

"Indigenous nations worldwide have been asserting their sovereignties which is reshaping practices of environmental management.""Indigenous ways of being in sacred, ethical and reciprocal relationships with "nature" can enhance and develop more sustainable approaches to living in what many call the age of the Anthropocene (the current period when human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment)."
-end-
The paper, 'Indigenous sovereignties: relational ontologies and environmental management' (2019) by Samantha Muller, Steve Hemming and Daryle Rigney (Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, University of Technology Sydney), has been published in Geographical Research. https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-5871.12362

Captions (please use credits): Ngarrindjeri people caring for Country - supplied by the © Department for Environment and Water.

Other photos supplied by the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation

Flinders University

Related Climate Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Climate Insights 2020: Climate opinions unchanged by pandemic, but increasingly entrenched
A new survey provides a snapshot of American opinion on climate change as the nation's public health, economy, and social identity are put to the test.

Climate action goes digital
More transparent and accessible to everyone: information and communication technologies bring opportunities for transforming traditional climate diplomacy.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

How aerosols affect our climate
Greenhouse gases may get more attention, but aerosols -- from car exhaust to volcanic eruptions -- also have a major impact on the Earth's climate.

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

How trees could save the climate
Around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide would be suitable for reforestation, which could ultimately capture two thirds of human-made carbon emissions.

Climate undermined by lobbying
For all the evidence that the benefits of reducing greenhouse gases outweigh the costs of regulation, disturbingly few domestic climate change policies have been enacted around the world so far.

Climate education for kids increases climate concerns for parents
A new study from North Carolina State University finds that educating children about climate change increases their parents' concerns about climate change.

Read More: Climate News and Climate Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.