Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity, a day to consider our relationship to the natural world and this year the theme is ‘Our solutions are in nature’. The slogan emphasizes how dependent we are on healthy ecosystems for our own health and welfare. This has probably been particularly relevant this year given our isolation from others, closure of business and leisure opportunities and the complete upheaval of plans we may have had for this year. While we have had to distance ourselves from other human contact, one sanity saver has been the opportunity to get outdoors and into nature to feel some sort of normality by visiting beaches, forests, parks and rivers. I think it has given us all a sense of just how important these natural places are to our mental health for starters, and how lucky we are in Australia to have these places.
I live in Peramangk country, the traditional land of the Peramangk people, just one of over 250 language groups of the first people of Australia. I have been privileged to have been part of a smoking ceremony conducted by an aboriginal elder in my town, which involved being immersed in the wafting smoke from smoldering eucalyptus leaves as he silently walked among us. If you ever get the chance to be involved in one of these ceremonies as part of a welcome to country I would urge you to do it, it’s quite a moving and special experience and one that is significant in cleansing the past for a better future.
Did you know that the Red Centre in the Northern Territory has been named 4th on Lonely Planet’s top ten regions for 2019? To me the red centre really does feels like the beating heart of the country and when there I feel an energy that is perceptible. The big must see places include the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) and of course Alice Springs. But don’t stop there. The MacDonnell Ranges, East and West are full of breathtaking gorges, unique wildlife and scenic walks and Palm Valley and the Finke Gorge National Park.