Perspective Matters: Towards Sustainability in Western Australia’s Coastal Zone

By Laura Stocker and Deborah Kennedy.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Cultural perspectives of the coast affect – and are affected by – our marine ethics, frameworks for coastal ownership and management practices. In this paper we examine how cultural perspectives affect sustainability on the coast. In Australia, cultural perspectives of the coast include an ecosystem with intrinsic values, a commodity that can be bought and sold, a community place where people meet, a landscape with aesthetic appeal, a productive system that generates profits, a property to be managed, a spiritual realm that relates to proper order and reverence, an Australian Aboriginal realm, an arena of potential sustainability, or a combination of the above. Each of these cultural perspectives interacts with the others and this can create conflicts over rights and responsibilities. This paper explores the negative and positive implications of these cultural perspectives and makes suggestions about which are most appropriate to a goal of sustainability. Examples are drawn from recent coastal developments in Australia, such as Native Title debates, the marine protected area process and Coastcare.

Keywords: Cultural, Perspective, Sustainability, Management, Coast, Australia

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.271-286. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.233MB).

Laura Stocker

Associate Professor, Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP), Curtin University of Technology, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia

Laura is a marine ecologist by training. Currently, she researches and teaches in the area of coastal sustainability, climate change policy, sustainability mapping, sustainability education, cultural values of place, and conceptual aspects of sustainability. She also has a life writing project on the sea and the Jewish Diaspora. Her qualifications are BSc (Auckland); MSc (1st Class Hons, Auckland); PhD (Sydney).

Dr. Deborah Kennedy

Research Associate, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Australia

Deborah Kennedy received her doctorate in sustainability and technology policy from Murdoch University, Western Australia, in 2008. She is currently a research associate of Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute. Her research focuses on the politics and ethics of coastal and ocean management. Her most recent project has been researching local government adaptation responses to climate change. In addition to research, she has taught various courses at Murdoch University in environmental ethics and global environmental issues. She has previously worked as an economist and written about deforestation in Indonesia and the Solomon Islands.

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