Nicolas Francois – Day 3

Fantastic day and a huge amount of data- some captured in notebook but a lot just covered during bushwalk.

Here are my top 3 points:

  • If you are strongly opinionated… do not join the national parks management- this was a great fast tracking by Glen. It took him 25 years to come to the acceptance that as a public servant you just do what the government, as representative of the people’s will, tells you to do…. Very good example with the grey headed flying fox. We do need people like that to hear the voices of the whole community and respect everyone’s perspective especially if they are the dominant one. The swing between governments though does not seem to align with the need of continuity for conservation of biodiversity. If you want to be the voice of the plants and animals you can’t be changing your approach every 4 years. Plants and animals voices have been the same for 100 million years and will continue to be for the next 100 million years….
  • Within the same group of participants you can find a wide variety of opinion, which adds to the complexity of finding a balanced solution. For example 2 of the rangers we talked to have different perspectives on traditional burning, they are not completely opposite but you can hear a possible lack of communication. One is adamant that traditional burning can be a way to maintain biodiversity throughout the Blue Mountains and is working with aboriginal elders from other parts of the country to understand the way it should be done and implement a pilot project in Yellomundee regional park, yet at the same time he does not totally agree that we need a scientific supervision of the process as it is a cultural process. The other one refutes the idea that traditional burning was done in the heart of the Blue Mountains, he supports his opinion by scientific evidence that some of the plant species would not have survived high frequency traditional burning, yet he seems to agree that in the lower part of the mountains (as in the Yellomundee regional park) it can make sense. The answer is possibly in between with different regimes of traditional burning based on a scientific evaluation of the flora present in each geographical area and the fauna that you want to attract (e.g. bring back wallabies by favouring grass growth).
  • How can we look up to the previous generation when they have left us such a mess? For aboriginal people it makes sense because elders are teaching a way that is sustainable. This was a lovely part of our discussion with David. He actually agrees that being old does not make you an elder (e.g. several older aboriginal people have lost their way, due to alcohol mainly), at the same time we need to become the elders that we have lost. Each one of us has a responsibility to step up and become role models for future generations. On a side note I was wondering if and how the values of aboriginal culture could be more widespread globally, not the lifestyle itself but the values of respecting mother earth, favouring sustainable practices, establishing a new sense of justice and community belonging- a bit like the Dalai Lama is trying to spread the universal values of Tibetan Buddhism.

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