Hearing Australian Aboriginal Voices on Neglect and Sustainability
Journal of Medical Humanities, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 4-5, 2009
3 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2009
Date Written: June 1, 2009
The recent bushfires in Victoria, which took over 200 lives, paradoxically may have highlighted a positive aspect of Aboriginal culture highly relevant to concerns about the sustainability of global human society. Indigenous Australians, finding joy in few wants and a philosophy of the eternal perpetually resonating in the present (rather than some past Eden or future heaven), were able to continuously inhabit their harsh continent for over 10,000 years. They did so with an acute understanding of how to continuously adapt to achieve a balance between population, production and their impingement on the capacity of nature to deliver necessary ecosystem services indefinitely. This included a profound knowledge of how to live with frequent forest (bush) fires.
As global warming and adverse climate change (driven in large part by the needs of contemporary consumerist society) create unprecedented high temperatures and drought conditions over southern Australia (and increasing incidences of such deadly bushfires), it appears that our present industrialised civilisation may soon be at long odds to remain intact on the same land for a mere 500 years. Contemporary concerns about global social sustainability, in other words, create a further important reason why Aboriginal voices and perspectives should be expressed and heard.
Keywords: Aboriginal, sustainability, climate change, global warming, ecosystem
JEL Classification: D63, D64, H41, I18, 131
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation