Across the world, Australia is a beacon of unique biodiversity and rich natural resources, yet its land, water and wildlife are devastatingly mismanaged. Four environmental experts join ABC Radio’s Philip Clark to share an urgent call for change.
Richard Beasley was the senior counsel assisting for the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission, and his new book Dead in the Water explores that environmental catastrophe. Bruce Pascoe, author of Dark Emu and co-author of Loving Country, has been recovering Indigenous agricultural practices, helping to reshape how we manage Australian land. Victor Steffensen specialises in using traditional knowledge for environmental wellbeing, and his book Fire Country calls for the revival of cultural burning practices and improved ‘reading’ of Country. Rebecca Giggs’ creative and scholarly writing focuses on themes of ecology and environmental imagination, animals, landscape, the uncanny, politics and memory. Her debut narrative non-fiction book is Fathoms.
When it comes to restoring our land of plenty, there’s plenty of work to do – and quickly.
Bruce Pascoe (Australian)
Bruce Pascoe is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man. He has written 35 books and won the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. He farms Indigenous foods at Wallagaraugh, Victoria.
Richard Beasley (Australian)
Richard Beasley SC is a Senior Counsel at the NSW Bar. In 2020 he was Senior Counsel Assisting the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess, and in 2018-2019 he was Senior Counsel Assisting the Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission. He is the author of five works of fiction, including Hell Has Harbour Views, which was adapted for ABC Television in 2005. Dead in the Water, published by Allen & Unwin in February 2021, is his first work of non-fiction.
Rebecca Giggs (Australian)
Rebecca Giggs is an award-winning author from Perth, Australia. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Granta, and in anthologies including Best Australian Essays and Best Australian Science Writing. Rebecca’s non-fiction focuses on how people feel towards animals in a time of technological and ecological change. Her first book, Fathoms: the world in the whale, won the 2021 ALA Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the 2020 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Prize.
Victor Steffensen (Australian)
Victor Steffensen is a Tagalaka descendant from Far North Queensland. His works specialize in the application of traditional knowledge for the wellbeing of cultural and environmental wellbeing. He has developed the practice of influencing traditional teachings with many Elders from related clan groups within his region. Through a powerful combination of filmmaking, writing, and musician skills, Victor has succeeded the many challenges of applying traditional knowledge values to a changing world. This has led to the opportunity of working with many people and cultures in developing their own aspirations all over Australia and other parts of the world. Throughout Australia, Victor plays a strong role as an Indigenous fire practitioner and continues to influence Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with his practice. His book Fire Country is a powerful examination of how the revival of cultural burning practices, and improved 'reading' of country, could help to restore our land.
Philip Clark (Australian)
Philip Clark is a well-known ABC broadcaster who currently presents Nightlife, an Australia-wide program on ABC Radio from Monday to Thursday. The program features interviews and specialist comment and opinion from a wide range of contributors. Philip has presented widely across the ABC and commercial media in both radio and television. Prior to joining the ABC, he worked as a lawyer, ministerial staffer and as a senior journalist with Fairfax Media.