Cross-Cultural Ecology & Environmental Management Lab

School of Natural Sciences, Macquarie University

Cross-cultural Ecology is the study of the interactions in nature (Ecology) that incorporates ethical and respectful use of different cultural knowledge systems and approaches. Two-way, both-ways or Right-way are terms that also describe cross-cultural approaches in Ecology.

Cross-cultural Environmental Management is the application of cross-cultural ecology and environmental knowledge in management decisions and actions.

Our lab is actively involved in a range of cross-cultural ecology, environmental management and cross-cultural science projects. We mainly work across Western and Indigenous scientific knowledge systems and co-create knowledge to study and manage biodiversity, freshwater wetlands, coastal and marine systems, invasive species and fire. We work with Aboriginal groups, communities, Elders and youth across Australia (see Research Projects page). Our work is largely place-based with a sustainability science focus.

The broad aim of our work is to bring different ideas, methods and priorities together to develop locally meaningful understandings and solutions to environmental challenges. Although our work has an environmental focus, the place-based and cross-cultural, collaborative approach we use demands consideration and often inclusion of socio-economic, education, cultural, health and political components. This interdisciplinary approach reflects our Indigenous collaborator’s holistic worldviews.

We engage in two-way capacity building – building the capacity of both non-Indigenous and Indigenous people to better understand each others worldviews, knowledge systems and preferred ways of doing things.

If you would like to join our team or find out more about what we do, please contact lab group leader Associate Professor Emilie Ens.