There is much we can learning from Indigenous perspectives on sustainability. Australia’s indigenous people have cared for Mother Earth for over fifty thousand years. They come from country, care for country, celebrate country, feel sorry for country, and have a deep emotional connection and concern for the place they are born. This concept of Country fully embraces sustainability.
“The land is my mother. Like a human mother, the land gives us protection, enjoyment, and provides our needs – economic, social, and religious. We have a human relationship with the land: Mother, daughter, son. When the land is taken from us or destroyed, we feel hurt because we belong to the land, and we are part of it.” Djinyini Gondarra
The way we view the world is the way we treat it. Loving earth and having a world view that we are off this earth and need to maintain it in order to live; that if destroy our country we destroy ourselves is at the heart of many indigenous cultures but far removed from the modern western world view.
As David Suzuki said:
“The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity––then we will treat each other with greater respect. Thus, is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.”
Indigenous Australians fully understand the interconnectedness of all life and the fragility of our ecosystems.
If we can learn to treat Earth and nature with true respect, we will be begin the long journey of being good custodians of our earth.
The resources and links to resources that follow provide some information and ideas to support your teaching and learning and development programs. There are resources for educators, as we can only teach what we know, and we all have much to learn about Indigenous perspectives and sustainability.