When the environmental movement emerged in Australia in the 1970s, many saw an obvious, natural alliance between activists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. There seemed to be broad agreement on one major principle: the natural environment should not be subject to thoughtless destruction. But these relationships have also often played out with tension – complicated by disagreements on issues from fire management to mining sites to the contested idea of the ‘wilderness’.
In her 2012 Boyer Lecture, Indigenous writer and anthropologist Marcia Langton complained of ‘the refusal among the romantics, leftists and worshippers of nature to admit that Aboriginal people, like other humans, have an economic life … and have economic rights’.
A new book, Unstable Relations, explores the past and present of this sometimes tense, often constructive and always evolving relationship. Join the co-editor, anthropologist Eve Vincent, Indigenous climate change activist Amelia Telford, and contributor Jon Altman in conversation with host Tony Birch.
Presented By YIRRAMBOI and The Wheeler Centre