Skip to content

Black and Green: Environmentalists and Indigenous Australia


Event Status

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.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Presented in partnership with Yirramboi.


Tony Birch

Tony Birch is the author of four novels, five short fiction collections, and two poetry books. His most recent book is the novel, Women and Children (UQP). ... Read more

Eve Vincent

Eve Vincent is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University. She is the co-editor, with Timothy Neale, of Unstable Relations: Indigenous people and environmentalism in contemporary Australia (UWAP, 2016).

Jon Altman

Jon Altman is a research professor at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University, and an Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University. One of Australia’s most engaged public intellectuals, Jon also frequently writes for a broader audience on ... Read more

Karrina Nolan

Karrina Nolan is of mixed heritage from Yorta Yorta nation in Victoria. She’s worked as an organiser, strategist, campaigner, facilitator, lobbyist and hip-hop wrangler alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, young people and communities for 20 years. She’s led programs and campai... Read more


The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

More details

Stay up to date with our upcoming events and special announcements by subscribing to The Wheeler Centre's mailing list.

Privacy Policy

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.