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Fighting carbon with fire - Arnhemland, Australia

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Australia Western Arnhem Land This is our rock country nobody ives and walks here ... as the old people did. Now there is so much that is new ... these helicopters, fireballs and so on. so what is bringing us back here? My name is Dean Yibarbuk, a Gurrigoni man "What is that cloud as black as a crow?" On the far horizon, what is that cloud? At Anlarrhkornam ... are they burning the country? Old People! Listen to me! We are here! We have come to look at your country ... and to look after it. Sometimes I feel a bit scared. Because ... it's such a long time since people lived up here then walked out. And their spirits... it's like there's people always watching you. Probably waiting ... for the families to return and manage this country again. Manage the fire. Manage the country as it was managed ... for thousands and thousands of years. I'll explain something to you about fire. Fires here have become too intense. These Callitris trees are all burnt ... all their trunks. Hot fires have burnt ... right to the top ... and killed them. We should see young Callitris here ... but there are none. Why? Wildfire. We haven't been here managing fire ... so destructive fires have come. The ways of the old people have passed. We have to find new ways to make this land healthy. So, with scientist friends ... we studied fire ... in the different seasons. We proved that if we burn in patches ... and at different times of day ... we can control the spread and intensity of fires. This makes our soil and plants healthy again. And this way of burning ... makes much less greenhouse gases. Working with scientists, we can bring what they know ... together with the knowledge of our older people ... who remember how it was before. Mary Kalkiwarra The men would go first, hunting. Then we'd set off ... all of us burning as we went along. We'd set up camp in a burnt area. We'd see the men coming, carrying kangaroos. "Daddy! Daddy!" we'd cry out. We'd call out to our fathers in joy! When we finished our research ... we made an agreement with business and government. They will now fund us for the next sixteen years ... to reduce greenhouse gas ... and to look after our country. Being the boss of fire was always the way. Not fire being the boss of us. That is the lesson from the old people. Controlled burning and environmental management on the Western Arnhemland Land Plateau is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by one hundred thousand tonnes of carbon every year. Similar fire management practices are being implemented in other regions of Australia. Made by United Nations University in association with Warddeken and Australian National University

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 32 seconds
Country: Australia
Language: English
Producer: United Nations University
Views: 53
Posted by: unuchannel on Jun 16, 2009

Arnhem Land - Aboriginal fire ecologist, Dean Yibarbuk, explains how traditional fire management practices have kept the country healthy for thousands of years. Recently, his mob at Wardakken have been working with local scientists to adapt traditional fire management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This fire abatement scheme of Australia's Western Arnhemland is a carbon offset community programme, gaining a lot of international attention.

Download Carbon Guide for Northern Indigenous Australians:

To see other stories in the UNU's Indigenous Perspectives of Climate change videobrief series:

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