Embodiment of Values
Keywords:Embodiment Water Relationality Conversation Ecology
Relational, multi-modal conversations between the authors’ experiences of a damaged environmental site occur through different knowledge systems including life sciences, art, agriculture and environmental science. The authors respond to the risks of the dramatic impact of the loss of water flow in the Barwon River, Victoria, Australia. This is a river that flows through the Indigenous lands of Wathaurong, Gulidjan, and Gadubanud country from the Otway Ranges and near to one of Deakin University’s campuses. Early in this century, groundwater extraction dried a swamp wetland, generating toxic levels of acid and heavy metals which generated a major fish kill in 2016. Loss of water led to the aquifer site at Yeodene Swamp revealing great depths of peat that, when burning, follows underground peat layers (an unknown river path) and emerges to ignite new above-ground fires.
These issues and experience of dwelling in this part of Victoria inspire our embodied thinking, conversations, and art. They have prompted us to be ambitious in our actions—even provoking us to develop campaigns. Our value and respect for this place in the most holistic sense—geographic, experiential, spiritual, historical and biophilic—inspires us to come together to contextualise and apply responsibility, accountability, ethics, morality, justice and integrity. We respond to the question: What does embodiment of values look like in this context? Having brought this story into the 2019 Body of Knowledge Conference through walks and conversations by Gardiners Creek at Deakin University’s campus in Burwood, we have explored it further in this co-authored article.
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