For the thousands of years’ humans and nature have existed very close to each other, developing a very special relationship where humans understood the intertwined connections of the ecosystems and all living things. As nature was an essential for the survival, Indigenous people learn to take as much as give back, nature was being protected. It was not about the gain and well being of an individual, but the well being of the whole.
In the philosophy of Indigenous people all individuals are part of the kinship based community, community which is part of the nature. They manage resources responsibly, share equally and believe in “enoughness”, creating an a balanced, harmonized and sustainable system.
This Indigenous Knowledge is rooted in a profound belief in a power of a place and the knowledge that has been gathered in this place throughout hundreds of years by the ancestors, their traditions and their observations of an ongoing changes.The Indigenous societies have been sustainably taking care of the environment for thousands of years, but so much of it has been destroyed in just around 200 years of time, leaving nature in imbalance. The place they are living in is a core of attitudes and beliefs of Indigenous people, therefore it was possible for them to construct this sustainable way of living.
“The concept of sustainability has always been central to Indigenous culture; North Americans Believe that you consider the impacts of your actions on the next seven generations. In Australia there is a world view amongst many Indigenous people that you don’t inherit the land, you hold it in trust for the future generations.”- Larissa Behrendt
These ideas should be promoted in the modern societies. An artist and author Rick Hill believes that “this indigenous knowledge that we’ve learnt from countless experiences will help us help the earth.”
Ecofeminism is a movement proposes that the cause for an ecological destruction is Capitalist Patriarchy structure of the society, where women are oppressed and withheld from the resources while men are in power to control and use them. A hierarchical structure exists in this system where some living things are valued more than others, according to which humans are more important than nature, animals and plants are less worthy. In this system males are valued over females.
Using gender as a vantage point, Ecofeminism looks at an area where environmental exploitation and gender oppression issues both overlap.
Being a big part of an Ecofeminist movement, Vandana Shiva explains the idea of a “mother earth” in modern society has become an idea of a superstition, “a few hundred years ago an assumption was made that nature is dead”.
Vandana believes that women as a gender are being considered as non-important. Ecofeminism ties these two issues together into a cause of an ecological destruction.
Ecofeminism proposes that nature is linguistically feminine. It can be explored in terms like “mother nature”, “virgin timber”, “fertile soil” etc, however its’ main point is that both genders should live in harmony not dominating each other and not dominating over nature.
There is also so much to learn from the Indigenous Knowledge Systems that could be applied in contemporary practices, moving toward more sustainable practices, leading back to harmony between humans and nature.