Category 1

Caring for Country


Project Summary

By bringing the rich, holistic tradition of Indigenous Australians into conversation with western environmentalism we hope to deepen our mutual capacity to live sustainable and humane lives in the face of the challenges thrown up by the Anthropocene, a geological epoch in which humans now exert a significant planetary impact.

We aim to undertake a research program, which honors and explores the significance of the holistic philosophy, aesthetic and ecology of ‘caring for country’ practiced by Indigenous Australians and Islanders for many centuries, and which, we believe, has a powerful wider relevance to our nation and region, as well as to other parts of the world.

The concept of ‘Caring for Country’ has long been and remains a pivot of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life, an ethic that sees humans as part of rather than outside their natural world, and tasked with a responsibility for nurturing that world, a reversal of the two centuries of human efforts within the ‘developed world’ to control and exploit nature that has triggered massively destabilizing and unequal processes of planetary environmental change.

We believe that the importance of recovering and reiterating the aesthetic, cultural, artistic, historical, and spiritual dimensions of environmentalism represented within this traditional ethic has never been more urgent.