Community based adaptation to climate change: The Arabana, South Australia

Authors: Melissa Nursey-Bray, Deane Fergie, Veronica Arbon, Lester-Irabinna Rigney, Rob Palmer, John Tibby, Nick Harvey and Lucy Hackworth
Year: 2013

Arabana people live in the Lake Eyre region, Marree, Oodnadatta, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, Port Augusta, Adelaide and Darwin. A social sustainability study conducted suggests that Arabana people have a history of adaptation and are relatively resilient to change. However, Arabana country is highly vulnerable; this report finds that the regions will get hotter, in some places wetter, and in others much dryer. In Arabana Country, water availability overall will decrease. Arabana people consider climate change to be a risk and are concerned about the availability, access, quality and drying up of water, especially in relation to their culturally significant mound springs. They are concerned about the destruction of cultural sites via wind, erosion or flooding. The maintenance of livelihoods is another major issue as is how to build family and cultural networks across the nation. Arabana people from all across Australia came together in Port Augusta for an adaptation workshop, and collectively agreed on an adaptation program. Results from the adaptation workshop were collated with the research results to produce a community based adaptation strategy, endorsed by the Arabana Board of Directors in December 2012. Suggested adaptation programs included establishing cultural centres in every place and city where Arabana people live, setting up economic businesses in tourism and pastoralism, moving back to country, developing a program of regular cultural camps, revitalisation programs, the building of partnerships and the establishment of ranger, land management and monitoring and research programs.Arabana people now have an adaptation strategy and are working on its implementation. However, as with all the other challenges they face, they cannot do this alone, and will require the support of Government, researchers and industry.

Download publicationView Resource