, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 263-272
Date: 14 Jan 2014

Living on Climate-Changed Country: Indigenous Health, Well-Being and Climate Change in Remote Australian Communities

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Abstract

Closing the gap between the health and well-being status of Indigenous people living in remote areas of northern Australia and non-Indigenous Australians has long been a major target of federal health policy. With climate projections suggesting large increases in hot spells in desert regions and more extremes in rainfall in other areas of the north, direct and indirect impacts resulting from these changes are likely to further entrench this health and well-being disparity. This paper argues that it is time to explicitly draw on Indigenous definitions of health, which directly address the need to connect individual and community health to the health of their country, in order to develop effective climate adaptation and health strategies. We detail how current health policies overlook this ‘missing’ dimension of Indigenous connection to country, and why that is likely to be detrimental to the health and well-being of people living in remote communities in a climate-changed future.