Curious Climate schools
Curious Climate schools

Dean Greeno

Riawunna Centre for Aboriginal Education, University of Tasmania
Research Areas
Climate change and its effects on Traditional Indigenous practices
Why I do what I do
Maireener shells an essential item that is core cultural woman's practices is under direct and measurable climate threat, in numbers, ecology, and sustainability practices.
Something interesting about me

Questions answered by this expert

What will be the first effects of climate change that we will notice in Tasmania?
View answer

We asked a wetland ecologist, a fire scientist, and a Tasmanian Aboriginal person to answer this question. Their answers may surprise you - because climate change is already affecting Tasmania.

Indigenous perspective

Tasmanian Aboriginal People have been seeing climate change effects for well over 15 years now, we have noticed these effects on our traditional cultural resources such as the marineer shells, Mutton Birds, and dog wood trees/saplings. 

Marineer Shells are used in traditional shell necklace making (mental health, connection to country). The shells come in a variety of colours and sizes. They are an iridescent metallic green or blue colour and are often representative of status or valued highly as a trade item, depending on the quality, quantity, and shell variety. 

Some of the climate change affects which has been seen on the shells are discoloration, spotted corrosion, thinning of the shell walls, and becoming more brittle because of this. Their numbers are reducing, the water they live in has become more acidic, the weeds they live in and on have reduced in number and coverage per hectare, in some cases being pushed out of the area by other weeds. 

Marineer shells in a necklace. Photo: Dean Greeno.

Mutton birds are being affected by micro plastics in the water, and the blockages are interfering with their energy levels for their long-haul migrations and breeding cycles. Dog wood (used for making spears and clap sticks) saplings are growing at a faster rate and are being shown to not grow as straight nor with the same internal strength qualities that have been apparent for thousands of years. 

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