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Connecticut College

Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2014

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action

Abstract

In Victoria, the practice of cattle grazing in alpine areas has shaped land, culture, and history since the early nineteenth century. Characterized by early gold mining, grazing, and skiing tourism, the Victorian Alps eventually seized the attention of conservationists who understood its ecological significance and need for protection, with beginnings of an Alpine National Park idea in 1969 (Johnson, 1974, p. 180). Not until 1989, however, did the park enter into existence, meeting much resistance from farmers and graziers along the way (Mosley, 1999, p. 80). Today, however, the region remains contested between two very distinct groups of people: environmentalists and mountain cattlemen. Throughout this research project, I studied how and why the issue of alpine grazing continues to cause such fierce contention in Victoria. To do this, I employed two methodologies: intensive interviewing and content analysis. I interviewed five people, ranging from a cattleman to scientists to employees of environmental nonprofit organizations. I then analyzed these transcripts in dialogue with the results of a content analysis. I split this latter method into three sections, examining folklore and art, differences between environmental and cattlemen publications, and representation in the media. While content analysis facilitated the verification of my data, I used interviewing as my main methodology. My results concluded in the argument that grazing causes such passionate divide in Victoria due to significant differences in land ethics and management philosophy. This primarily results from a clear value debate between environmental and ecological conservation and traditional cultural heritage preservation. Also, a shared love for the high country of Victoria creates even more conflict in this region, as different groups of people struggle with the land’s purpose and value. This paper does not propose a new management plan itself, but rather analyses existing points of view, illustrating the conflict of the region and how such discord shapes the dialogues surrounding the Alpine National Park.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Education | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Sciences | Other International and Area Studies | Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change

 

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