Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability

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The paper aims to describe indigenous philosophy, which is also known as local or traditional knowledge, as the basis for understanding the pre-requisites for achieving local sustainability. It explores the nature of indigenous beliefs and practices, spiritual experience, culture and geo-environmental conditions as represented in indigenous lifestyle, folklore, stories, proverbs, wisdom and interpretation of natural phenomena, all of which encompass aspects of long-term sustainability. The indigenous philosopher-elders, though mostly without formal education, possess excellent aptitudes for directing people towards individual, social, cultural, economic and ecological sustainability. The paper argues that non-indigenous settlers in any country of the world have to learn from the local indigenous beliefs and practices in order to understand the new environment. There is a growing awareness among the developed countries such as Australia as well as among the developing countries such as Bangladesh that the culture of their respective indigenous communities embodies “reverence” for the environmental “sacred” resources. It is argued that reverence for any natural sacred entities including sacred land, people, animals, plants and waters, helps gain knowledge and wisdom about the locality and that the guiding development philosophy should be “prevention is better than cure”. The paper concludes that indigenous philosophy, knowledge and traditions can be integrated in the educational curriculum to enrich our vision and practices for achieving sustainability.

Keywords: Traditional Philosophy, Sustainable Development, Local Knowledge
Stream: Cultural Sustainability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Dora Marinova

Associate Professor and Head of School, Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP), Murdoch University
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Dora Marinova is an Associate Professor and Head of ISTP, Murdoch University where she teaches in the areas of demography and women and development. She is currently supervising 15 PhD students on topics related to sustainability. Her research interests cover technology policy and development, sustainable business and partnerships. She has published over 60 refereed journal articles and book chapters and has conducted research for Western Australian and Commonwealth Government departments.

Dr Amzad Hossain

Honourary Researcher, ISTP, Murdoch University

Amzad Hossain is a honorary research fellow at ISTP. He is also a Honorary Professor at the Institute for Natural Resource Management of the University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Western Australia. Hossain publishes papers and popular articles reflecting Baul philosophers’ views in regard with sustainable development, sustainability, renewable energy, values and spirituality, and reflective education. As a Visiting Professor, Hossain also teaches and supervises post-graduate students at Rajshahi University in Bangladesh.

Ref: S08P0051