Sorry it has been so long since posting. A combination of no computor (still) and pressing commitments has kept me away from the keyboards.
I am presently writing an article for the “Green Magazine”, the journal of the Australian Green Party, about sustainability and development in Aboriginal communities. I will post the article here when it is finished. I have been very critical of the Greens in recent times, most particularly for their failure to campaign on Aboriginal issues in the recent Queensland state election.
There are key individuals in the Queensland Green party such As Drew Hutton and Dr. Libby Connors who have developed an understanding of the relationship between Green and Indigenous politics and become active themselves in various support activities for Aboriginal Australia, most notably Drew and Libby’s support for the Palm Island community. But these people are unfortunately freaks in a sea of green racism, both inside the Green party as well as amongst the general environment movement.
Many environmental campaigns seek some sort of tokenistic involvement of Aboriginal people in their campaigns but this is mainly just politically correct window dressing on non-indigenous campaign strategies, organisations, political philosophies and indeed subconscious psychological traits. Australian Green movements have adhered to colonial notions of the ecology and the role of the human species in it while remaining insulated from both the pain and perspective of Aboriginal people regarding this Aboriginal country.
It seems to me the primary colonial concept that environmrntalists need to transcend is the notion of protecting the environment from human impact. Conservation strategies have tended towards restricting human access to wilderness eco systems which of itself perpetuates the deterioration of those systems. For hundreds of thousands of years the human species has been an integral component of the Australian bush. Human society and physical ecology have evolved overtime as a connected whole, not the bush as a separate entity from human habitat. But modern colonial environmentalism seems content to assume that the natural habitat of humans is the city or village, seperate and detatched from the wilderness.
Around the globe wilderness and bush ecosystems are being destroyed, not just through over use by tourists or even by extrative industrial development allowed in them. The systems are eroding because they are not of themselves self sufficient. The strongest bush eco systems are still very vulnerable to human activity in other geographical areas such as toxicity in air, water and soil. They are vulnerable to climate change and acid rain.
The way we live in our cities and villages directly impacts on wilderness areas even if we stay on the human side of fences protecting nature reserves.
Aboriginal ecology is dependent on humans fulfilling their custodial obligations of burning, species culling to preserve balance, seed propogation, composting and a range of other fertility inducing by products of humans living in the bush.
Non-Aboriginal environmentalists have a lot to learn from indigenous understandings of how to live in the environment. it is unrealistic for anyone including Aboriginal people to live a traditional pre-colonial lifestyle but the logic, sensibilities and specific knowledges of Australian ecosystems that is inherent in contemporary Aboriginal social ecology will be a major building block of new management and custodial systems for the bush, which must include the phenomenon of people living permanantly in the bush in a symbiotic and mutually fertilising relationship.
Until the Australian Green movement can find a confluence of both action and philosophy with Aboriginal Australia they will remain as simply ignorant and impotent comentators on the tragic destuction of the environment.
As long as we focus on preventing human contact with the wilderness the wilderness will wither. When humans can start living in ways that impact positively on the wilderness then it has a chance of not just surviving but also increasing.
My own pipe dream is for the total reaforestation of Australia,especially in and around human habitats where food water and waste systems directly contribute to rather than drain from wilderness ecologies.