Elders' and Aunties' Experiences of Climate on Erub Island, Torres Strait

McNamara, Karen, Westoby, Ross, and Parnell, Kevin (2010) Elders' and Aunties' Experiences of Climate on Erub Island, Torres Strait. Report. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

There has been growing concern over the exposure of Torres Strait Islander communities to the impacts of climate change. Across the Torres Strait region, impacts have included inundation events, high tides, less predictable winds and ocean currents, an increase in disease vectors, the loss of cultural sites, and a reduction in freshwater supplies. Some of these direct and indirect impacts of climate change have been recorded in the scientific literature, but to date there is a paucity of documentation as to how the communities themselves have experienced these changes and impacts. These 'experiences' (of changes and/or impacts) might stem from Islanders' memories, or from the present.

Memories and knowledge of events and seasonal changes have emerged in part through Islanders' ongoing and direct interaction with their land and sea country. Numerous authors refer to this knowledge using terms such as 'Traditional Ecological Knowledge' or 'Traditional Environmental Knowledge', which neglect through the attachment of the term 'traditional' that knowledge is fluid, evolving and ever-changing (Hunn et al. 2003: 79). The authors wish to note that while climate experiences and subsequent environmental knowledge has been established through generations, it is still continually being built upon, added to and reconstituted.

Researchers funded by MTSRF Project 1.3.1 'Traditional knowledge systems and climate change in Torres Strait' worked with Elders and Aunties on Erub Island, located in the eastern group of islands in the Torres Strait. The focus of the project was to document and record Elders' and Aunties' experiences of a changing climate, such as their memories of extreme weather events and historical environmental changes, to present day changes to their land and sea country.

Item ID: 42488
Item Type: Report (Report)
Funders: Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF)
Projects and Grants: MTSRF 1.3.1 Traditional knowledge systems and climate change in Torres Strait
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2016 05:51
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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