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Black and Green: Environmentalists and Indigenous Australia

Listen to Black and Green: Environmentalists and Indigenous Australia

Photo of Tony Birch, Karrina Nolan, Jon Altman and Eve Vincent

Tony Birch, Karrina Nolan, Jon Altman and Eve Vincent in conversation — Photo: Jon Tjhia

When the environmental movement emerged in Australia in the 1970s, many saw an obvious 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 and the contested idea of ‘wilderness’. In her 2012 Boyer Lecture, Indigenous writer and anthropologist Marcia Langton denounced ‘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 its co-editor, anthropologist Eve Vincent, Indigenous organiser and strategist Karrina Nolan and contributor Jon Altman in conversation with host Tony Birch.

Presented in partnership with Yirramboi.

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