April 1, 2022

Alex McClean on his work in East Timor, Central Australia & the Pacific - food security, ecosystem restoration, permaculture & change in extreme times

Alex McClean on his work in East Timor, Central Australia & the Pacific - food security, ecosystem restoration, permaculture & change in extreme times

A great conversation with Alex about his experiences, reflections and the perspectives he brings to his work that’s all about people centred development for community and ecosystems resilience, livelihoods and food security in a changing climate. Alex has deep experience in community development and working with Indigenous people in East Timor, Central Australia and now with island communities in the Pacific.

We kick off with the idea of the ‘island’ and that we’re all (pretty much) islanders now given the increasingly uncertain, volatile waters of climate change we all face but that especially pose direct, immediate challenges to island people and communities. Our conversation ranges across Alex’s diverse and oft overlapping community development experiences and zooms in on the contrasting and sometimes very similar food security challenges faced by many of the people and communities Alex has worked with in tropical, arid and temperate remote and island locations. 

We talk:

  • Colonialism and its legacies, past and present…
  • community development work and how it is approached ‘differently’ here and overseas in the Pacific and elsewhere
  • food security and climate change in central Australia 
  • carbon markets, climate change work to support Indigenous land and island owners to build more resilient livelihoods and help protect and restore ecosystems 
  • …and we talk about the changing face and place of permaculture, pushbacks, changing perspectives and reflective conversations underway…  

Alex McClean has worked in community development, food security, sustainable livelihoods, natural resource management and climate change across the Asia-Pacific region and remote Central Australia for 15 years. He is an experienced field level practitioner, having worked with numerous communities and community based organisations on strengthening the mutual ties between access to land, natural resources and viable livelihoods. Alex established Arid Edge Environmental Services in 2013, the social enterprise arm of the Arid Lands Environment Centre in Alice Springs. He currently works for Nakau on forest carbon projects with customary landowners in the pacific. 

Alex lives in Alice Springs with his family and still enjoys pottering in the veggie patch. Last years pomegranate crop was particularly satisfying. 

Learn more about Nakau and the great work they do @ nakau.org 

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