*Australian sky as Aboriginal flag* Source: Rose Fletcher | Daily Mail
Indigenous communities of Australia have been warning about a bushfire crisis for years. Their call is to implement a radical change to how land is managed as Australia has been dealing with some of its worst bushfire conditions on record in the last years. Specialists on the field are trying to influence the federal governments to establish a new workforce dedicated to managing land and fuel loads through the use of traditional ecological knowledge.
This sector could employ Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and exist in conjunction with emergency fire services to use fire practices for land management systems of the future, in a way that they are adapted to suit the current times. The key message is based on the idea of humans using fire skilfully by manipulating vegetation to reduce fuel loads and sharpen fire boundaries. Rediscovering the connection of human kind with nature will allow to learn how to read trees, soil types, wind conditions and developing an “intimate” relationship with the landscape.
Anthropogenic climate change is perhaps the ultimate manifestation of humans’ growing disconnect with the natural world, although not all societies share the same burden of responsibility for its creation. Compared to the dominant industrialized societies whose activities in the last 200 years or so have caused most of the climate impacts currently observed, Indigenous people living on their traditional lands bear little responsibility for current and future projected consequences of a changing climate.
Despite this, they are likely to suffer the most from direct and indirect climate change due to their close connection to the natural world and their reduced social–ecological resilience—consequence of centuries of oppressive policies imposed on them by dominant non-Indigenous societies. In the Australian case, this approach may represent a valuable set of knowledge to cope with the wildfire that have been destroying entire ecosystems and killed millions of animals.