The re-indigenization of humanity to Mother Earth: a learning platform to cultivate social-ecological resilience and challenge the Anthropocene.

Iain MacKinnon, Lewis Williams, Arianna Waller

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Human beings today are living in times of unprecedented social and ecological
crisis, a crisis that is to a significant degree of human making. The impending arrival of the
Anthropocene geological epoch gives this crisis a name. As academics with a sense of
responsibility for our relationships with planetary kin, the awareness of unfolding crisis calls
on us to reach a deeper understanding of assumptions about the world, and of modes of living
that these assumptions permit, which have been a human contribution to crisis. Furthermore,
the Anthropocene calls us to act upon our new understanding. Taking modern European
imperialism as a key generative force in the development of Anthropocene, we provocatively
develop the idea in this article that the life-ways and worldviews of Indigenous Peoples
colonized by European imperialism – including, potentially, marginalized and suppressed
life-ways and worldviews of Indigenous Europeans – may hold critical insights by which to
negotiate the Anthropocene and to challenge and change habits of thought and action that
have led us to its threshold.
In doing so we outline the rationale behind the Alliance for Intergenerational Resilience
(AIR) whose objective is to build social-ecological resilience by connecting and supporting
locally based projects for the innovative and renovative co-evolution of social and ecological
systems. AIR aims to generate inter-cultural relationships between Indigenous communities
and communities no longer considered indigenous to place in order to support more
meaningful, life-giving social and ecological relationships for all people. In order to further
describe AIR's objectives and its aspirations, the article draws on the Alliance's inaugural
event, the Elders’ Voices Summit, four days of Indigenous-led sustainability education with
more than 100 international participants, representing community, university, government,
philanthropy and not-for-profit sectors. We conclude by casting our hopes forward to
envisage future re-indigenization work that supports the connection and reconnection of
human beings with the Earth and the places of the Earth to which we belong
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sustainability Education
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2018


  • decolonization, re-indigenization, community resilience, Anthropocene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Education
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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