Journals from Aboriginal and Environmental Economics of Australia
2008-01-17 Greetings from Alice Springs!
G'day from Alice Springs, at the center of Australia. Today it is in the low 40s (that's celsius, so think 110-115 on the Fahrenheit scale), so we're cooking. I have pictures to send, but since the last ones didn't work, I'll stick to a summary.
Yesterday we traveled 1177km from Katherine to Alice Springs, stopping mostly for meals and stretches, but also for the Devil's marbles. You've probably seen pictures -- round boulders suspended on other rocks, seemingly on the verge of rolling away.
Today we visited the Alice Springs nature reserve, learning a bit about the various desert landscapes. No, they're not all the same--some have underground rivers and are much more hospitable. It was fascinating to see how many of the native plants were used by Aborigines for food, medicines, tools, etc. Science in the Northern Territory is turning more and more to Aboriginal practices and stories to understand some of the natural processes. It shouldn't surprise us that after 50,000+ years of occupation, the Aborigines might know a bit about how to manage their lands.
Later we visited a local Aboriginal research center and art gallery. About 30% of the artists in Australia are Aborigines, but they account for roughly 70% of the art sold internationally. Much of their art also contains the stories that pass down Aboriginal history and tradition.
Tomorrow we'll be hiking through some beautiful areas of the West McDonnell mountain range, including Simpson's Gap and Standley Chasm. If all goes well we'll see a few rock wallabies and return without any sunburns.