David Suzuki is a Canadian academic, environmentalist and scientist, and is the co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Here he sets out seven reasons why we need to look at how Indigenous Australians interact with the environment.
1: “We need to have a paradigm shift; to me the paradigm shift is that we have to see the world as Indigenous people see it.”
2: “We’ve lost the Indigenous knowledge that was embedded in place, that was the key to sustainability, and instead overrode it with all this let’s take advantage of what we can get out of it.”
3: “We’ve used the air, water and land as a garbage can and now we know that species are disappearing and we’re suddenly realizing, holy cow there is nowhere else we can go on the planet, we’ve filled it up and we’ve poisoned the very things that keep us alive. That’s why many of us are now going to Indigenous people and saying look we’ve treated you so badly and yet you still cling to that sense of where your home is.”
4: “[Indigenous people] all over the world people refer to the earth as our Mother and say that we’re created out of the four sacred elements earth, air, fire and water, that all living things are relatives – these are the perspectives, the attitudes that’s needed around the world to rediscover our place and respect for other creatures”
5: “Indigenous people celebrate and thank the creator for the world that they live in, that’s not the way science does it and the knowledge acquired through that way of living is absolutely essential for the survival of those people, if their knowledge didn’t work they would’ve been gone a long time ago.”
6: “Australian Aboriginal people are coming to Canada and we’re sending people to their communities and it really strengthens both communities, culturally they recognise the power of their culture and the sense that they’re not alone.”
7: “It’s urgent that we empower Indigenous people everywhere and look to their leadership into the future”
Dr. Suzuki has dedicated his life to reversing the global effects of climate change and considers oceans, sustainable fishing and clean energy as some of his highest priorities. His foundation collaborates with Indigenous peoples and believes that traditional knowledge is critical to conservation.