Indigenous Engagement: Three Case Studies

  • Bruce Tranter
  • Libby LesterEmail author
  • Lyn McGaurr
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)


In this chapter we examine the relationship between environmental leaders and Indigenous Australians. The World Heritage Convention protects sites of universal natural and cultural values, sometimes in combination. In 2015, it was amended to incorporate references to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). International conventions are always in danger of becoming the handmaidens of their signatory states. When evidence emerges that they have succumbed, it fuels criticism of cosmopolitanism. At the same time, environmental leaders sometimes clash with Indigenous people over efforts to conserve the natural values of traditional lands for the ‘global good’. We ask how international instruments with cosmopolitan ambitions have influenced the discourse and practice of Australian environmentalists attempting to find common ground with Indigenous groups. Drawing on interviews with 25 members of our sample who mentioned Indigenous issues in their interviews, we find the World Heritage Convention and UNDRIP have encouraged a pragmatic cosmopolitan practice among environmentalists, despite continuing intercultural differences in some quarters.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  3. 3.University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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