EcoHealth

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 263–272 | Cite as

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

Original Contribution

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.

Keywords

Indigenous health psychosocial health and well-being climate impacts Aboriginal Australia 

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Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Climate Change Research CentreUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System ScienceUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia

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