When it comes to the environment most people think about global warming, climate change, deforestation, rising sea levels, all sorts of pollution etc. Then we try to see different ways we can bring about change and figure out how to reduce these stressors. We have set policies to reduce carbon emissions, there are recycling techniques put into place, clean ups etc. However, there is so much more we can do such as discussing and highlighting different people’s perspectives and ideas. As a community, we fail to recognize that there are people who understand the environment much better than we ever will. The people we fail to discuss this information with are Indigenous communities.
The ideas, stories, knowledge Indigenous communities have on day-to-day living, the environment and how to sustain it is incredible. I had the opportunity to be taught by an Elder in undergrad back in Canada and that Elder was an Indigenous professor who shared many great stories and teachings on the purpose of having a connection with the environment. We as a society are so disconnected from the environment that we do not appreciate the many great values the environment gives to us on a daily basis.
By being taught stories by Elder Pete, provided new insight into environmental sustainability. Elder Pete taught us how to appreciate what we have and understand that everything has a soul, and everything has a purpose on this earth. Without heartful connection, global warming and climate change is not going to stop. This is because capitalism and greed take a big toll on how hungry powerful governmental heads treat these types of situations. Indigenous people are now being recognized for their knowledge and understandings of environmental sustainability. Reconciliation with Indigenous communities is what will help broaden our own perspectives and understandings of the environment. While science and technology are great for getting concrete facts and stats, deeper connections and awareness is what will bring about change.
Hence, the purpose for interdisciplinary approaches and reconciling with Indigenous communities is key to achieving environmental sustainability. The way to initiate change is by involving a diverse range of communities, there are different approaches and views which need to be considered.