Nov. 15, 2020

9 - Oliver Costello sees cultural connections through fire

9 - Oliver Costello sees cultural connections through fire

Can you believe it was over a year ago that the Black Summer of bushfires in Australia started? In the news cycle we get bombarded with, we can almost lose touch with these once-in-a-lifetime events.

Last week was also NAIDOC week here in Australia, and it was so great to see so many indigenous voices and platforms over the week and the support from a wide range of the general public.

So in a beautiful harmony of those two topics, today's guest is Oliver Costello.

Oliver is a Bundjalung man who started Firesticks Alliance, a not-for-profit that uses cultural indigenous fire practices to maintain landscapes and keep a balanced ecosystem. But more than that, Firesticks brings together indigenous people and puts them back on country, and back practicing their cultural ceremonies.

There’s something special about fire that brings us together. We gather around it. We connect over it. Firesticks Alliance does exactly that too… it brings people together in a ceremonial and purposeful way to connect with each other and the land.

In this conversation we talk about the impacts of climate change on worsening bushfire conditions. We talk about our mismanagement of the land, where our Western lens seeks to homogenise and try to control the landscapes rather than working with Nature’s cycles.

We talk about our disconnection from Nature, and how the media narratives around ‘fighting fires’ and ‘war on fires’ are fuelling our separation from country.

We talk about the power that fire has to bring us together, the amazing work that Firesticks is doing, and so much more.

Thank you so much for supporting the show. Keep the good vibes rollin' by hitting subscribe and sharing on instagram.


PS - I considered releasing this episode to fall in NAIDOC week but I decided against it for two reasons... One, to allow what (little) space and airtime this podcast uses to be taken up by indigenous platforms; Two, to keep the conversations around Aboriginal culture going after NAIDOC week finished. The intention is certainly not that we stop and wait until next year to cherish and learn from the world's oldest living civilisation!

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