Suzuki: Learn from indigenous peoples

May 27, 1992

Suzuki: Learn from indigenous peoples

By Andrew Kitto

ADELAIDE — Scientific thought is moving away from limited technical frameworks towards a more complete "web of life" approach, and therefore more towards the beliefs of the indigenous peoples of the world, acclaimed Canadian environmentalist and geneticist David Suzuki told a gathering at the Entertainment Centre on May 16.

He urged respect for the "wisdom of the elders" and the knowledge they had accumulated over thousands of years.

Despite the promise of the scientific explosion of the 20th century, Suzuki said, we now have a far less healthy environment, huge numbers of people are dying from either starvation or pollution-related diseases, and there are rapidly growing gaps between rich and poor.

He targeted politicians and industrialists who care only for the "health" of the economy without regard for the health and well-being of humanity and the millions of mutually dependent forms of life.

We will not survive as a species, Suzuki argued, unless we can develop a respect for the earth and all our genetic relatives similar to the spiritual regard that indigenous peoples have for the planet.

Adelaide dance group Ngarrindjeri Narrunga Dreamings illustrated the harmony that exists between Aboriginal people, the land and the birds and animals. The haunting rhythms of Carroll Karpany's didgeridoo kept the audience spellbound as he imitated kangaroos, brolgas and kookaburras.

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