Our Great Work-Caring for Country
On Saturday June 20, 2015 a group gathered in the McAuley rooms in Parramatta to continue learning and sharing on Ecological issues.
The theme for the gathering was “Our Great Work-Caring for Country”. A task that requires commitment and action from people in all walks of life e.g. science, politics, philosophy, ethics, religion, economics and education.
John Butcher President of the Cooks River Valley Association shared how the Cooks River People are caring for country in the Cooks River Valley and how they see their relationship to the river and its surrounds. His talk was entitled “Walking the Talk-Caring for an Endangered Ecological Community”.
In the presentation we were taken on a journey. In the course of this journey, we discovered how groups of people connected to the river have improved not only the water quality of the river but also the diversity of life along the river. The river has come alive with festivals celebrating times when people swam in the river and places where ‘Sorry Day’ and other celebrations have and still take place.
We watched a video of the children from the local public school being educated into the life of the river. The Cooks River Valley Association wrote a unit on the Cooks River for Primary and Secondary School. Through the connections they have made they will take pride in looking after it.
Our next speaker, D Michelle Maloney, an environmental lawyer and co-founder of Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) posed the question, “What have Law, Governance and Ethics got to do with the Great Work?”
She went on to tell us how a network of lawyers in Australia and abroad are contributing to the “Great Work” through efforts in the area of Earth Jurisprudence. They are working towards making the current Western legal system more earth-centred and less exploitive of the natural world.
Michelle shared some of the beliefs, ideology and ethics underlying the group’s approach to Earth Jurisprudence, including the belief of Thomas Berry that “Ecology is not part of Law rather Law is an extension of Ecology”.
She mentioned also the interconnection of the earth community and the view that the “Great Laws-“-laws of the natural world -are to be respected as basic and higher than human law.
Michelle shared how Members of AELA are critiquing current law, governance, and the overall worldview and practices of industrial society from the point of view of Earth. She told us ways in which AELA members are advocating alternative law and governance structures that support the rights of nature and ecological limits as well as human rights.
Click here for further information regarding AELA.
Many participants expressed appreciation of the input and sharing.
Our next gathering is Saturday Morning, August 29, 2015, when Professor Ray Norris and Cilla Norris will speak on “The World’s First Astronomers: Astronomy and navigation in Australian Aboriginal Traditions and Cultural heritage”. All are welcome.
Marie Butcher and Valda Dickinson