Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/31787
Title: On Common Ground. Cultivating Environmental Peace: A History of the Rainbow Region
Contributor(s): Bible, Vanessa  (author); Ihde, Erin  (supervisor)orcid ; Branagan, Martin  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2016-10-22
Copyright Date: 2016-04
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/31787
Field of Research (FoR) 2008: 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Field of Research (FoR) 2020: 430302 Australian history
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: undefined
Abstract: 

This thesis presents an environmental history of the ecologically-conscious communities of the ‘Rainbow Region’ in Northern New South Wales, Australia, and asks what can this dynamic, influential and innovative region teach us about cultivating environmental peace? As humanity rapidly propels itself into the Anthropocene, the era of human-induced global environmental change, it is more important than ever that we seek ways to mitigate our environmental impacts and cultivate truly sustainable societies and cultures of environmental peace. Our very survival depends upon our ability to do so. The Rainbow Region stands at the forefront of dynamic, grassroots environmental action and activism, and therefore can provide demonstrated and effective examples of how we might make the changes necessary to confront the Anthropocene. Yet to date, there have been few histories produced of this remarkable region. Amending this is one of the key aims of this thesis.

Rooted in the emerging multidisciplinary field of the environmental humanities and drawing on the disciplines of peace studies and history, this thesis also aims to make contributions to the critically important environmental humanities as well as furthering understandings within the similarly emergent field of environmental peace. It uses the methods of historical-comparative analysis and oral history to investigate the changing relationship between people and place over time. From the deep spiritual connection of the Bundjalung people, to the discomfort and disconnect of the earliest colonists, to the emerging sense of place felt by early conservationists, and to the very deep connection forged by the largest countercultural community in the Southern Hemisphere, these seemingly disparate stories start to flow together as it becomes apparent what they share in common – a sense of place and a desire to belong that transcends temporal and cultural boundaries. The thesis then applies peace studies theory so as to best understand how these findings can be understood from a peace cultivation perspective. Findings include the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK); the significance of values in the shaping of our attitudes towards the environment; the importance of environmental education; place attachment as a motivator for environmental action; the cultivation of activist techniques and experiments in sustainable living; and finally, weaving through and connecting these approaches, the power of community and common ground.

As we face the overwhelming environmental challenges before us we look for ways forward. The roadmap already exists, clearly written upon the places we inhabit. Despite our different expressions of belonging, we all seek connection to the places we call home, and in this we stand on common ground. The communities of the Rainbow Region demonstrate that community-led environmental peace cultivation is not only effective, it provides one of the best hopes that we have of surviving the Anthropocene.

Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Appears in Collections:School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Thesis Doctoral

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