Pre-Conference Workshops

Better When We’re Together: First Nations Cultural Science, Western Science and Our Future Coasts Workshop
Co-Chaired by Phil Duncan and Kerrie Foxwell-Norton with Traditional Owners from Cairns, Yarrabah and Wujal Wujal
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When: Monday 26 July 2021

Time: 12:00pm – 4:30pm

Venue: Tully Room 1, Pullman Cairns International

Cost: $60 per delegate

First Nations people comprise a minority of the global population, estimated at between 370- 500 million and of these, many are oppressed, marginalised and dispossessed of land, water, knowledge and a cultural life.  In the Aboriginal worldview, people and Country (including lands, waterways, seas and our constellations) are interdependent entities that are intrinsically linked in the landscape through cultural and spiritual significance. This means that there is no separation of nature and culture – the health of the natural environment and cultural wellbeing of Aboriginal people is directly influenced by the health of the cultural landscapes, including our sea country.  Over millenia, First Nations people have exercised their continuing cultural responsibility to sustainably manage their lands, waters and natural resources for the health of their Sea Countries and our peoples. They have understood the importance of their cultural connection to country and its centrality to life and have cherished it accordingly.

First Nation peoples’ traditional ecological knowledge, like their stories, are passed down from generation to generation and continue up until this day. This has allowed First Nation people to live in a symbiotic relationship with the land and water.  They have used the land and sea, lived upon it and nurtured its health in ways that have only recently been named ‘sustainable’. Through dispossession, and then mismanagement of their lands and waters, and an ongoing disregard for their culture, knowledge and understanding, the world has witnessed the detrimental effects upon both our peoples and our environment – today, Aboriginal people and communities, exist in both harmony and in pain with their traditional countries. Many First Nation peoples’ have been marginalised through the deprivation of traditional lands, waters and sea country and the difficulties encountered in practising customary law through ceremony and looking after Country.

This workshop invites participants to reflect upon the knowledge and experience of First Nations communities in managing coasts and country and to consider how this aligns (or not) with mainstream Western coastal science. Led by First Nations communities from Far North Queensland, this workshop is an opportunity to dive deep into the expertise of local people listening to the ways they navigate cultural science and the obligations therein, and Western science.  The workshop is premised on dialogue and participation – and exploring opportunities for coastal and marine management and protection now, and in the future, to best leverage and combine First Nations and more recent coastal expertise. The workshop will focus especially on the risks and impacts of climate changes on First Nations coastal communities and the opportunities therein to nurture future coasts where two cultures  – of First Nations Cultural Science and Western Science – might work better together.

Future Earth Australia workshop on implementation of the 10-year strategy for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability
Facilitated by Tayanah O’Donnell & Taryn Laubenstein, Future Earth Australia
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When: Monday 26 July 2021

Time: 12:30pm – 4:30pm

Venue: Collaborative Learning Area (CCC-103, Level 1), James Cook University, Bada-jali Campus, 36 Shields Street Cairns

Cost: Complimentary (numbers are limited and bookings will be taken on a first-in, first-served basis)

In March 2020, Future Earth Australia (FEA) began developing a 10-year strategy for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability. This strategy (due for completion and publication prior to the Coast to Coast conference) aims to develop tangible and feasible recommendations that can move us towards caring for our oceans and coasts, explicitly in co-design with the Australian community, including First Nations peoples, engaged with a range of sectors, and cognizant of the current legislative and jurisdictional landscape.

FEA is holding a pre-conference workshop on Monday afternoon 26 July to discuss implementation of the strategy. The workshop will be led by the FEA Director, Dr Tayanah O’Donnell together with some of the expert working group members who were involved with the development of the strategy.


Future Earth Strategy