The first settlers in Australia, the indigenous people, were experts in land management. They preserved the land for generations and roamed the continent freely. Their life was peaceful and arguably without worries.
With the coming of the next generation of settlers, came a different lifestyle, the tilling of land, the ownership of property and the beginning of modernism.
Land use for agriculture, the felling of trees for building of homes and homesteads, mining and all the needs of modern civilization brought with it the change in the Australian landscape, as well as the inevitable use of land in a way that would never have been contemplated by the original inhabitants of Australia.
With the development of Australia, came the inevitable migration of people from many lands afar, seeking a better life.
Would there have been migration if we did not have the development through the toils of second generation of settlers? Most probably not. Many migrated to Australia precisely because was it was a developed nation and there has to be an acknowledgement that the second generation of settlers played an important and significant role in modern Australia.
I believe, though, that we now have to look at the effects of change in Australia in the context of climate change, rampant industrialization, denuding of the forests, etc.
Is it time to now look for a new paradigm for Australia, a new balance in how we use the knowledge of the indigenous people in helping us to see how to combat the effects of climate change and come up with new ideas on land management?
Could there be a role for government to set up a peak body comprising a cross section of indigenous people and other notable personalities to look at a new Australia for the generations of tomorrow?
We have a unique opportunity in Australia to show the way, a new way, to combine the past with the present, to use the intrinsic knowledge of the indigenous people with the scientific minds of later settlers to come up with solutions for the world of tomorrow.
It is time, but will we be bold enough to do something about it?