1.D. The Research Process
The financial matters having been dealt with, it is now time to focus on how the research was conducted. I will do so by listing the research highlights in a chronological order. A specific scientific outcome will emerge from each of the following 18 events.
Events (congresses, conferences, meetings): scientific contributions
- River Symposium Sept 23-26, 2013
- 49th Congress of ISOCARP /AIU in Brisbane, Tuesday 1 October to Friday, Oct 1-4, 2013
- The Peace Conference at U.N.E., Armidale, Oct 13-15, 2013
- Public inquiry response about the Duchess Paradise coal mine
- Mission with Christine Black, “3 sisters”, the filmmaker M.McDuffie in the Aboriginal communities (4 days)
- Mission with Stephen Muecke in the footsteps of Paddy Roe at Roebuck Bay (1 day)
- Conference at Environs Kimberley April 29, 2014 Conference
- 4th International Forum on the Resilience, May 5-8, 2014 in Montpellier
- Conference on shale gas, Vienne, May 13, 2014
- Forum at La Chênaie, Brainville-sur-Meuse, Mai 17, 2014
- Conference in Nancy, May 19, 2014
- The Meuse-Mardoowarra Conference, Manchester Social Centre, Charleville- Mézières, May 23,
- International Festival of Rochefort Pacifique, Presentation of the film “Three sisters” by Magali McDuffie, May 20 to June 1st, 2014
- 3rd Unesco-NGO Forum, Côte d’Ivoire, Yamoussoukro, July 30-31, 2014
- Organisation of the Northern Regional Congress of AITF « Water and Environment : the Connection to Land », Oct 3-4, 2014
- Setting up of a Puppet, Dance & Circus Show “The Ngalyak and the Flood: Mardoowarra to the Meuse”
- Presentation at the Saint-Dié International Festival of Geography, Oct 3-4, 2015 28
- 50ème anniversary of ISOCARP: Promotion of Convivial Regions.
The Australia is the size of Europe. It is a single country, made of 6 States. The 18 events reported above allowed to experience (very) large distances, while retainging a sense of unity. A network thus gradually built itself, weaving together concepts, organizations and reference areas.
Specific references for each event will be provided, including scientific contributions to the research. These contributions will be used for the presentation of the results. Each event sheds light on the study, and bring new outcomes to the fore.
1.D.1. River Symposium Sept 23-26, 2013 (http://ian.umces.edu/blog/2013/10/15/international-riversymposium-2013/):
The acts can be found at the following address:
http://riversymposium.com/conference-proceedings/proceedings-2013/#Monday (see also Tuesday and Wednesday). The PDF summary of the presentation in PDF can be found at the following address:
The River Symposium is organized by the IWC. One of the assistants, Delphine Gonchond, is French, which facilitated the start of the study.
In addition to the numerous technical presentations of exemplary projects of river rehabilitation and protections throughout the world, the exhibition stalls enables a better understanding of the way Australian organisations contribute to a quality of management of rivers.
A highlight was meeting Jaana Dielenberg, an information officer (Knowledge Broker) who provided me with the following documents:
- The Aboriginal seasons calendars related to plants, animals, fish, with its 6 season (and not 4 as in Europe)
- The Facilitators’Guide to Indigenous Water Planning (Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge). This guide has a wealth of information for water planning which takes into account the cultural and spiritual values of water.
My participation in the workshop of the Peter Cullen Foundation (http://www.petercullentrust.com.au/), entitled “Linking people, projects, and rivers to reach the goal” allowed me to learn more about the work of the man who played a significant role in the rehabilitation of the Murray Darling Basin and saved Lake Eyre, amongst other actions related to water.
1.D.2. 49th Congress of ISOCARP /AIU in Brisbane, Tuesday 1 October to Friday, Oct 1-4, 2013
The 49th ISOCARP Congress “Frontiers of Planning – Evolving and Declining Models of City Planning Practice”. The reference site is:
The Congress was opened by Bill (William) Twitchett, an Australian architect and planner who lived in France for 50 years and with whom I have worked professionally and associatively for 25 years between 1984 and 2009. He maintained strong links to Brisbane, where he studied.
The case study presented, ” Mining, Environment and Society”, was grounded in the thought of Whitehead as applied to the methodology of assessing the water that can really be mobilized in the Kimberley and Canning Basin in Australia”. (See Appendix_Evenements_ISOCARP).
This case study, which critically evaluated current planning policies and procedures in the Kimberley was well received by the Australian members of ISOCARP (including Bill Twitchett and the organizer of the Congress, his childhood friend, Jim Colman) – thanks to the quality of its information, it’s very strong documentation, and an approach based on verifiable facts. The rapporteur of workshop 2 “Valuing What Exists” acknowledged and quoted a large part during the final reporting session of the Congress, but it was not included in the final book made by Jim Colman. In a personal encounter Jim Colman repeated 3 times “Aboriginal people … it’s impossible to understand them!” Probably, many Australians WILL NOT understand. It appears that many Australians do not understand the circumstances Indigenous Australians have to endure. This Post-Doctorate study aims to find a way to generate genuine dialogue, on organic thought basis.
One of the participants, Isabel Buitrago-Franco, from the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, UQ, also attended the next event, which took place in Armidale.
1.D.3. The Peace Conference at U.N.E., Armidale, Oct 13-15, 2013
The statement made in the name of the LOTERR laboratory of the University of Lorraine – Nancy2 appears on the second page of the program, at the following address:
The title of the program “mining operations in a sustainable world: environmental, social, and economic policy issues” appeared at first to assume that a mine could be sustainably developed. The basic principle of the discussion was in regards to active non-violence, which allows for a constructive dialogue particularly when difficult issues are discussed, and strong contrary opinions are expressed.
The contact is: firstname.lastname@example.org or 02-6773 3951
1.D.4. Public inquiry response about the Duchess Paradise coal mine
The public inquiry into the Duchess Paradise coal mines was taking place at the time of my second visit in Australia.
Rey Resources Limited (Rey) propose to develop the ‘Duchess Paradise’ project based on a thermal coal deposit located in the basin of Canning/Fitzroy Trough located some 135kms south of Derby in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia. Rey proposes to carry out slot excavation and high wall mining in natural wilderness, followed by potential underground and open cut mining. The coal retrieved from the mine would then be transported by road to the port of Derby Export where it would be stored, loaded on barges and transferred to seagoing ships moored in the Derby Port.
The Duchess Paradise coal mine is located northeast of the main branch of the Fitzroy River between Mount Wynne Creek (in the North) and mount Hardman Creek (in the South and Southeast). The local climate is semi-arid with an average annual rainfall of more than 500 mm, the greater rainfalls occurring in the tropical wet season between December and March. Significant rainfalls of a short duration occurs from passing tropical cyclones and other events linked to tropical lows, with daily rainfalls of about 300 mm having been recorded locally. The water runoff fills the dry creeks and streams channelling the water to the river. An appropriate surface water management will be necessary to minimize operational disruptions and potential damage to assets. (see more on this topic in the ‘Results’ section)
The journalists compare the situation in Australia to a horse race. The two head horses are the ‘Economy’ horse, and the ‘Ecology’ horse. The two horses are side by side and no one knows who will win the race. A movement is rising in favour of Ecology, but this global movement of society is not yet a majority and extremely destructive projects are voted (the coal mines of Queensland, shale gas…).
Simply complying with the environmental legislation already in place would enable industrial and mining projects to be developed with due consideration for potential environmental impacts.
Kimberley traditional owners do not reject development per se; they express the need for rigorous scientific surveys of potential ecological impacts to be undertaken before any major decision is made.
In regards to the coal mines planned for the Duchess Paradise project, the public inquiry revealed issues which have not yet been taken into account, namely:
- the issue of wetlands (‘a paradise for birds and animals’ – hence probably the name of the place), and the inter-dependent micro-organisms and other ecosystems which enable their survival.
- the issue of waste water and its treatment (the project plans to pump polluted water back into the rock hollows created by the removal of coal which would allow for its containment, however other scientific studies have revealed that the rocks are fractured from side to side, which could lead to the pollution of the river) (see Appendix_Mines-Charbon_Rey)
The scientific contribution is the New Zealand methodology to assess the quality of fresh and marine water (Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality (2000) – a revision is in progress -)
The National Water Quality Management Strategy (NWQMS) is a joint national approach to improve the quality of waters in Australian and New Zealand rivers. It was initially approved by two Ministerial Councils – the former Agriculture and Resources Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ) and the ex- Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC).
Since 1992, the NWQMS has been developed by the Australian and New Zealand Governments in collaboration with State and Territory Governments. Continuous development is currently overseen by the permanent Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
The NWQMS aims to protect the country’s water resources, improving the quality of the water while supporting businesses, industry, the environment and the communities that depend on water for their continued development.
- http://www.environment.gov.au/water/quality/publications/australian-and- new-zealand-guidelines-fresh-marine-water-quality-volume-1
- http://www.environment.gov.au/water/quality/publications/australian-and- new-zealand-guidelines-fresh-marine-water-quality-volume-2
All publications can be found at the following address: http://www.environment.gov.au/water/quality/national-water-quality-management-strategy
1.D.5. Field trip to Paddy Roes Country, “3 Sisters”, filmmaker M.McDuffie in the Aboriginal communities (4 days)
This study trip allowed me to meet Aboriginal people in their communities, and to see Nyikina country. It was also an opportunity to finalise a documentary called “Three Sisters” which was to be presented in Montpellier at the 4th Forum on Resilience, and also at the Festival du Film de Rochefort Pacifique (see below).
It was thus possible to visit the following places
- Balkinjirr / Lower Liveringa where the Wilderness Centre is located
- The old Liveringa Station where current Nyikina Elders like Jeannie Wabi were unpaid servants (slaves) of the white pastoralists.
- Manguel Creek
- Bidan Community
The meeting with Christine Black, an Aboriginal academic whose work as a specialist lawyer in jurisprudence centres on the large estuaries of the world, made me aware of the fact that there was a radical difference between the Western legal system and the Aboriginal legal approach. Western law is not based in the land, but on the needs of society for productive development, always disconnected, at the root, from country. That is why legislation is so destructive of the environment. Developments are approved to allow for more development, and to remove the obstacles which would prevent them from being carried out.
Aboriginal Law is based in the land, and country is the source of the law. It is the title of Christine Black’s major work: The Land is the Source of the Law, Routledge, 2010, 224 p. This book gives an inter-governmental perspective of Indigenous jurisprudence: by comparing Indigenous legal systems in New Zealand, the United States and Australia, it offers a “Dialogic encounter with an Indigenous jurisprudence” in which individuals are defined through their rights and responsibilities towards the land.
This approach shines a new light on the theme of the ISOCARP Congress itself: is the change in planning legislation aimed at protecting the environment, or is its purpose to waive what prevented its destruction in order to allow for more development? In both cases, sentences such as “Ensuring the supply security of mineral resources” and “ensuring the development of society’ have different meanings.
1.D.6. Field trip with Stephen Muecke in the footsteps of Paddy Roe at Roebuck Bay (1 day)
Stephen Muecke, an Australian Professor of Ethnography at the University of New South Wales, was invited by Anne Poelina to participate in a field trip to Lake Eda on the Roebuck Plains east of Broome. There is concern the water quality is at risk contamination and depletion from the nearby unconventional tight/shale gas extraction at the Ungani wells (see the BURU records, Appendix Buru).
The two books for which Professor Stephen Muecke is well-known are:
- Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1983.
- Reading the Country: Introduction to Nomadology Fremantle, 1984, with landscape painter Krim Benterrak. This award-winning book is an ethnographic work about the Roebuck Plains, a RAMSAR site, near Broome. It relates a trip undertaken in 1984 with Paddy Roe on a traditional songline. Paddy Roe was an Elder of the Gularabulu and Nyikina people.
I retraced Paddy Roe’s songline on geographical maps and discovered that the route of this songline corresponds to a contour, probably that of the sea level when the first Westerners arrived, which would explain some of the stories associated with this songline.
How is it possible to allow gas exploitation, and of shale gas exploration in such close proximity one of the most significant RAMSAR sites?
The purpose of this field trip was to record the current state and quality of the environment in this area.
1.D.7. Environs Kimberley Conference on April 29th, 2014
This conference enabled me get an update on the progress of development in the Kimberley region as well as the corresponding actions of environmental protection groups.
Here are the main features of the Rey Resources coal mine project:
- The site is near the Fitzroy River, a national heritage site. It is home to 40 species of fish, including the famous Barramundi and endangered freshwater sawfish.
- Dangers for the Fitzroy River include acid run-off, heavy metals contamination and salt leaching into the waterways.
- Transport: with the mine in full production, there would be 144 x 100 tonnes of noisy dangerous “road trains” traffic per day between the mine site and Derby, which means a truck every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
- Gas emissions: Rey Resources plans to exploit 70 million tons of coal, generating 218 million tonnes of CO2
- The mine will use 4.1 million litres of water per day
- Risks to the King Sound: the coal will be loaded on barges at Derby Wharf and then loaded onto ships. Risks of pollution to the King Sound include dumping, coal dust and air pollution.
- Scientific uncertainty: scientists do not have enough data on the river and the groundwater system to be able to foresee the impacts that the project could have.
This lack of rigorous scientific data is raised by many stakeholders, and is highlighted in many of the studies on Northern Australia as a whole, including NASY and NAWFA studies, which will be examined further below (except for a few well documented specific points, which Kimberley is not a part of).
1.D.8. 4th International Forum on Resilience, May 5-8, 2014 in Montpellier, France (http://www.resilience2014.org/ )
My participation to this event was as a Research Fellow of the LOTERR laboratory. It can be seen as a highlight of my postdoctoral research.
This presentation was designed to be a ‘talking circle.’, which was attended by about 15 people from all over the world, and some French researchers in the area of resilience.
This presentation came just after the presentation of Magali McDuffie’s 55-minute documentary entitled “Three Sisters; women of high degree”.
1.D.9. Inter-Associations Conference on Coal Seam Gas, Vienne, May 13th, 2014
This conference on the theme of coal seam/ shale gas brought together about 50 people from France and all over the world. A 2008 map was presented, created by an American University and detailing the mining concessions of the major companies in the whole of the Mediterranean basin. Given that a period of 3 years is necessary to draw up such a map, it can be assumed that as early as 2005, large corporations divided the Mediterranean region among themselves so as to carry out shale gas extraction. It is astonishing to note that this corresponds to the period of popular uprisings.
A parallel was drawn between the Great Transatlantic Market (GTM) and the Transpacific Partnership, its equivalent on the other side of the planet. These agreements are in the spirit of the NAFTA, signed 20 years ago. This latest agreement has kept its promises profitwise, but for whom? Indeed, more than 7,000,000 farmers stopped their activity between 1995 and 2015 (see the article giving Olivier de Schutter’s explanations. De Schutter is the special rapporteur of the United Nations regarding food rights).
This exchange made everyone aware of the unprecedented global extent of neo-liberalism, with predictable disastrous social consequences (that is why these agreements were kept secret until November 2014, “in order to preserve the peacefulness of discussions”, but especially to prevent the population uprisings which had, in the past, stopped the implementation of OMC projects). These debates are now in the open, but still largely in English, and often released confidentially.
1.D.10. Forum at “La Chênaie de Mambré” at Brainville-sur- Meuse.
At this conference, the waters of Mardoowarra were merged with the waters of the Meuse, from the old stone Roman bridge of Brainville-sur-Meuse. This exchange of memory between two of the oldest rivers in the world promotes the need to protect river systems for their surrounding communities. This event was the subject of a publication in Australia for the Peter Cullen Foundation.
1.D.11. Conference in Nancy, May 19th, 2014
1.D.12. The Meuse-Mardoowarra Conference, Manchester Social Centre, Charleville-Mézières, May 23rd, 2014.
The Charleville-Mézières conference drew a parallel between the legend of the “Four Sons of Aymon” that are inscribed in the landscape of the Ardennes with the four rocks by the Meuse above Bogny and Castle-Raja and the story of the “Four Ngalyak” (pronounced “nga-li-yak”) near the Mardoowarra (Fitzroy River) ,which describes the creation story of the four rocks at the top of the cliff which towers over the Looma Aboriginal Community in the West Kimberley. Aboriginal people speak of ‘songlines’ or ‘tracks of songs’, which map country. In France, we speak of “chansons de geste”.They both use an analogy in stories that call for action on the land. The famous writer and storyteller from the Ardennes, Philippe Vaillant (my namesake), was able to develop this theme in an evening divided into three parts: scientific presentations, meal/unstructured discussion, and storytelling.
This project received funding of €1,000 by the Community of Urban Areas of CM-Sedan.
1.D.13. Rochefort Pacifique International Film Festival, Presentation of the film “Three sisters” by Magali McDuffie, May 20 to June 1st, 2014
The Rochefort Pacifique Film Festival was the opportunity for the second presentation of Magali McDuffie’s documentary “Three Sisters; women of high degree”. One of the three sisters is Anne Poelina. This Festival was marked by an encounter with Barbara Glowczewski, Professor at the Collège de France. Barbara is the author of numerous books on Aboriginal cultures. Her work is based on the work of Guattari, Deleuze, Heidegger, her fieldwork explicitly reveals an organic approach and shows the relevance, appropriateness, and applicability of an organic approach. G.Deleuze explained at the end of his thesis Difference and Repetition, that he is looking for concepts of a different nature, such as “the list of empirio-ideeles notions found in Whitehead, and which make Process and Reality one of the greatest books of modern philosophy ” ? (Deleuze, R & D, PUF, 1968, p.364). This is why the links between the work of B.Glowczewski and organic thinking would perhaps prove fruitful in the future, and would be useful to express the importance and brilliance of Aboriginal thought.
1.D.14. 3rd Unesco-NGO Forum, Côte d’Ivoire, Yamoussoukro, July 30th-31st, 2014
This Forum was the opportunity for me to deliver a 25-page scientific presentation (including 5 pages of bibliography) on the drops of experiences as applied to the problem of water. This presentation was followed by a presentation from Ms. Janine Marin who used the methodology of the drops of experience on 5 case studies throughout the world (see description below and Appendix_Evenements_UNESCO).
1.D.15. Organisation of the Northern Regional Congress of AITF “Water and Environment: Connection to Country”, Oct 3rd-4th, 2014
This Congress was organized by myself, together with a team of engineers from Charleville- Mézières. It was an opportunity to tackle the issue of water, in both its cycles (natural and artificial) in order to go back to the concept of water quality described in the European Directive of 2000. My experiences in Australia have been very useful to coordinate actions in the Urban areas of Charleville-Mézières-Sedan.
1.D.16. Setting up of a Puppet & Dance Show “The Ngalyak and the Flood: Mardoowarra to the Meuse”, TPFI ‘OFF’, September 2015.
The link between water, country, and culture was highlighted in the performance produced for the International Puppet Festival. This performance created a link between the Legend of the 4 Sons of Aymon, embodied in four rocks near the Meuse River, and the Aboriginal Creation Story of the four Ngalyak babies, embodied in four rocks near the Mardoowarra in Australia.
This show also had a scientific dimension with the role of the diatoms being highlighted (microscopic plankton which is the key to healthy water). It was also cultural, through storytelling, and educational, with the inclusion in the performance of 60 children of the Manchester area, and 70 Aboriginal children from the Kimberley. Science, Culture, and Education are the three main priority areas of UNESCO.
There were 7 performances and the success of the show was such that the International Festival of Puppetry “IN” is interested in presenting it for the September 2017 Festival. The participation of people of all walks of life is something Jacques Felix intended when he created the festival in 1961.
For more details on the show, please go to the following links: http://majala.com.au/news/
http://www.mclmaboheme.com/festival-off-des-marionnettes/spectacle/149-le-ngalyak-et-le- déluge-entre-meuse-et-mardoowarra-the-ngalyak-and-the-flood-the-mardoowarra-to-the- meuse
Figure 14 : Poster for the first conference with all the partners implied in the creation of the show « The Ngalyak and the Flood » in Charleville-Mézières, FITM « OFF », September 2015 (Event 16)
Our French-Australian Partnership was presented at the Saint-Dié International Festival of Geography by Gilbert-Philippe Vaillant, storyteller, wordsmith, and Philippe-Kimberley Vaillant, geographer.
The talk aimed at showing how organic thought enabled an understanding of the triple link between water, landscape, and culture. This connection, which Nyikina people call “liyan” in their language, is still very much alive in Australia, and also in the Ardenne, a region of legends.
The program can be found at the following address: (conference at 3:45pm) http://www.fig.saint-die-des-vosges.fr/images/programme_Dimanche.pdf
Organic thought, as applied between the Kimberley and the Ardenne, can help develop the connection to country on all the different scales, particularly at the scale of the “friendly region”, covering an area of about 32,000 km2.
This presentation summarises all the preceding ones, and can be found at the following address:
https://www.eventure- online.com/eventure/public/publicAbstractView.form?id=270838&congressId=9450&from=r esult
These 18 significant events helped me establish a network of scientists working in the area of water management, and of leading cultural figures. UNESCO, with its targeted programs in Science, Culture and Education, creates links between those three areas. It is therefore not surprising that my presentation in Yamoussoukro was the opportunity for a methodological analysis of the topic of my post-doctoral thesis. I brought back 300 GB of data, created 9 instructional DVDs, and began to plot a GIS-supported map for the regions of Broome and Nyikina Country (56,000km 2 + 26,000 km2 = 82,000km 2
My work at IWC enabled me to become immersed in the Australian culture of water which holds both a scientific and cultural dimension. .
Brian McIntosh introduced me to the Australian model of water assessment, and I also benefited from the invaluable insights of Mr. Robert Argent, Director of the National Meteorological Service.
- Sarah Grant conference on ‘The way the Aboriginal peoples approach water at IWC with Dana Kelly.
Sarah Grant, Queensland Aboriginal consultant organised a conference which was followed by a role-playing game aimed at furthering people’s understanding of the mechanisms which lead to a dismantling of the relationships between Aboriginal peoples and their territories and water.
- Bill Denisson, Peter Oliver, and important personalities
The works of Denisson and Oliver on the Fitzroy River are in agreement with the concept of the drops of experience.
Many contacts have been made for further research.