Embracing development and preserving cultural and the environmental value of land are two difficult things to achieve concurrently. Most of the times land development leads to disruption of the environment and any historical or cultural value thereof. The case of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal people and the Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) is an excellent case of the above scenario.
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On a different note, the wrath of drought is severe in societies that predominantly depend on agriculture for sustenance. Such populations are prone to malnourishment and consequent deaths, all because of harsh environments. This is the current condition in the East African region.
Fortescue Metals Group is a mining company that is eyeing the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal land for mining iron ore. This is an environmental health issue that has been controversial between FMG and the Yindjibarndi people. The miners are in pursuit of the land owing to its richness in iron ore, worth about $280 billion dollars (Four Corners 1); but to the Aboriginal Yindjibarndi people, the land is rich in spirituality and their history (such as the tribal law) (Four Corners 1).
Currently, there are negotiations taking place with some of the Yindjibarndi people for the FMG’s offer and some against it. With this disagreement, the community is tearing apart and their social health is affected negatively (Pannells 49; Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corperation 1). If the mining is approved, it will not only affect the physical environment but also tear the spiritual wellbeing and cultural strength of the Yindjibarndi people (Four Corners 1).
For many years, East Africa has been in the grip of a drought which has led to a serious humanitarian disaster. With no rains for two years straight, South Somalia is a region that has now been officially declared, by UNICEF, to be in famine. Extremely poor harvests and loss of livestock due to the drought have crippled a society that is dominantly dependent on agriculture and survives on its production (Hobday 1).
An approximated eleven million people, which is roughly equal to Australian population, are bracing the famine (Unicef 1). With more than two million children suffering from malnourishment and about half a million of these being severely malnourished, there is need for urgent intervention to curb these possible deaths.
With the culture and history of the Yindjibarndi people being at the verge of collapse, given the pursuit of the land by the FMG, it is no doubt that this is a sensitive matter. The question now should be how to exploit the iron ore benefits responsibly to create a balance between cultural value of the land and development.
On a different note, it is evident that drought can endanger every living species, given the fact that plants and animals that human beings survive on can no longer thrive amidst drought. The current famine situation in East Africa should therefore be handled seriously to prevent death of the millions of the malnourished children.
Four Corners. “Iron and dust”. 2011. Web.
Hobday, L. “Famine declared in South Somalia”. 2011. Web.
Pannells, S. “Red Earth Dreaming”, The Weekend First, 23-24; 2011. p. 49-50. Web.
Unicef. “East Africa emergency- drought, famine and conflict.” 2011. Web.
Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corperation. “The Yindjibarndi story.” 2011. Web.