Aboriginal Stories of Sustainability: Insights for Tackling the Climate Crisis

Aboriginal Stories of Sustainability

This $25,000 QUT New Professor Scheme funded project (2020-2021) aims to consider and interpret Aboriginal stories of sustainability and develop insights for tackling the climate crisis faced in Australia. Climate change and sustainability are major issues facing contemporary Australia and there is considerable discourse on what should or can be done to tackle this. In considering a response to the climate crisis, we turn to Aboriginal cultures, and practices of sustainability. Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 60,000 years and the way of life and everyday practices among Aboriginal cultures are often held up to be among the most sustainable in human existence.

The project will draw upon ideas from Indigenous knowledge, narrative theory, and the sustainability literature, and will utilise a combination of narrative interviews with elders and computer assisted text analysis of transcribed oral histories, to identify, help interpret, and generate insights from Australian Aboriginal knowledge on sustainability. The project aligns closely with QUT’s Blueprint 6 priorities in Indigenous Australian Engagement, Success and Empowerment, and in Sustainability and Environment. The research findings will help foreground the value of Aboriginal people and Indigenous knowledge in tackling the climate crisis in Australia and help inform policy and practice in response to the climate emergency. The dissemination and anticipated public discourse emanating from the research will also help present an opportunity for Aboriginal people to take a leadership role in tackling the climate emergency in Australia.


Professor Maria Raciti, University of the Sunshine Coast Associate Professor Tom van Laer, University of Sydney, Co-Investigator Dr Kishan Kariippanon, University of Wollongong, Co-Investigator