Why the firestick?

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The Firestick

Firestick farming was practised for millennia by Australian Aboriginals before any Europeans arrived. This involved the deliberate and systematic starting of fires in specific areas on an annual cycle.[1] The process achieved multiple results: [2]

  • It thinned out the forests to prevent the intense bushfires we have seen over the last century
  • It rejuvenated the many Australian plants that require fire to reproduce effectively
  • It attracted many animals into specific areas for easier hunting
  • Carefully lit bushfires were even used as a weapon against other tribes as well as foreign invaders like the Europeans.

The application of European style land management has a long story of epic failure in Australia.  At the heart of this matter is the complete lack of any understanding or respect for the unique plants, animals, landscapes and ecosystems of the island continent.

So what does the firestick mean for Australia today?

It is a symbol of a people who lived in harmony with the natural environment of Australia, rather than placing themselves outside and above it. 

  • It shows the ability of people to work with communities and nature to achieve their own ends, rather than racing on a path to self-destruction.

It is a symbol of renewal of the country.  

  • Yes, this does mean burning away large tracts of bush – but only because this is both what the land needs to regrow and the people need to live well.
  • This doesn’t mean we have to burn everything, firestick farming is a carefully considered process that drives action each year to cater for the current situation and future requirements.

It is a symbol of the understanding that Australians must look to their own future, rather than accepting the vision of other nations.  

  • European ideas never encompassed the reality of life in Australia and neither do philosophies of today forged by other countries with very different agendas and demands.
  • All ideas must be considered for their value and relevance to Australia and adjusted or discarded as required.

 

The Firestick expresses the desire to renew Australia to be a country that lives in conscious harmony with global ecologies, societies and economies on a finite planet.

 

[1] http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12146/12146-h/12146-h.htm

[2] http://theconversation.com/the-biggest-estate-on-earth-how-aborigines-made-australia-3787
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