It’s 2017 and thankfully the Racial Pyramid is a thing of the past. Indigenous perspectives are acknowledged as valuable and relevant in modern day Australian society, culture and politics. What is often referred to as environmental management systems by the community (scientific, farming, education), indigenous communities call Caring for Country.
When asked during a 2008 ABC interview how indigenous communities ‘do it better’, indigenous man and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australian Policy Manager Cliff Gobbo, replies “We can draw on some of our practices through our traditional knowledge of land, in terms of some of the seasons and how we would have used the land through the seasons of each year. It’s also about having connection to sites of significance, maintaining those sites of significance, whether it be waterways or just country in general. In terms of the waterways… I mean, a waterway has a special significance regarding some of our birthing practices from our women. So they’re the types of sites that we need to protect and maintain.” So what does this mean to us as modern Australians?
Dragon Dreaming’s John Croft, in his 2008 Fact Sheet #4 on Dragon Dreaming specific to the Nyungar people of Western Australia writes, “Australians are lucky, not only do they have so much natural bushland still left, but they also have the incomparable Aboriginal heritage. It makes them doubly wealthy.” What is this wealth he speaks of and how do we access it and deliver it through broader early childhood education? It isn’t as though we can all take up cyclic, seasonal lifestyles, but we can begin to address our ecological potential.
Start in your own Backyard. Return a small amount of fertility to depleted soil and encourage plant growth and fauna. Support what should be the naturally occurring interdependent, coexistence of flora and flora in your local area.
IN SITU COMPOSTING
This is a simple method of composting where you place your food or garden waste, either from spent crops or (unseeded) weeds.
- Find a scraggly patch anywhere outside.
- Gather some garden refuse or food waste (leftover from prepping breakfast, lunch or dinner).
- Lay it on your scraggly patch.
- Cover with soil or animal manure.
- Take a cutting of a nearby plant, plant a seed or seedling.
This may not be an indigenous method of caring for country in the traditional sense, but this does draw on similar principles of caring, valuing and acknowledging our backyard as a place of importance, a place that deserves to be nourished and cared for. The simple act of in situ composting reminds us this relationship between man and earth is living and reciprocal.