First Australians lived through the Ice Age: what must we learn for our future?

The rotation of the Earth beneath the night sky produces star trails in this 75 minute time exposure, while passing car headlights illuminate the foreground, Nanya Station, NSW, Australia
The rotation of the Earth beneath the night sky produces star trails in this 75 minute time exposure, while passing car headlights illuminate the foreground, Nanya Station, NSW, Australia

For over 60,000 years Aboriginal Australians lived and thrived in the Australian landscape. They had sophisticated and complex social systems with languages and religions that were unrecognisable to 19th century Europeans. Today, more of the ingenuity and wisdom in Aboriginal Australian’s practices and knowledge systems is being uncovered – revealing significant potential solutions for our imminent global challenges.

To this end, Head of Monash Indigenous Studies Centre Professor Lynette Russell, Professor Ian McNiven and Associate Professor John Bradley have just launched a new interdisciplinary project that explores Australia’s heritage from the deep past through to today. It will include comparative insights from the United States, Europe, Canada and New Zealand.

This project dovetails with a seven-year multi-university interdisciplinary research programme created by the ARC Centre of Excellence of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage.

We spoke with Professor Lynette Russell about what kind of evidence the Indigenous Science Project is discovering and examining, and how this can inform ways to face some of the world’s biggest issues such as global warming, climate change and how to live sustainably.