Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Change: Settlement Patterns of the Past to Future Resilience

By Phillip B. Roös.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

For centuries the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia have been confronted with major ecological, geological and climate events, and had to adapt home shelters and settlements to seasonal variations. Many of these changes have been captured in the cultural traditions of the indigenous people reflecting a harsh coastal environment. Weather patterns and climate change were gauged by the occurrence of the tidal changes, landscape changes, recurring weather events and the acknowledgement of six seasons. Community settlements got established and relocated to adapt to the patterns of nature. This paper investigates if this ancient knowledge can provide answers for adaptation of coastal settlements to a changing climate. Drawing upon recent published literature on predicted coastal climate change impacts in the different regions of Australia, and the review of indigenous settlement planning according to a six season cycle, the author explores traditional knowledge as input to a potential Design Based Adaptation Model for coastal settlements along the Australian coast.

Keywords: Indigenous Knowledge, Aboriginal Settlements, Six Seasons, Adaptation, Climate Change

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 7, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.13-31. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 997.894KB).

Dr Phillip B. Roös

PhD Candidate and Sustainable Design Practice Leader, School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science and Technology, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia


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