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Sustainability and Environmental Action



Russell Butler, Lecturer and Aboriginal Elder
Photo of Russell Butler

Russell leads the four-day Aboriginal field trip. He is a Banjin elder who learned many traditional skills and stories from his grandmother. Russell says, “I went to two schools—mainstream school and my grandmother’s school….Now it’s my job to teach my sons, to pass on that knowledge, and keep those skills and traditions alive.” He teaches the cultural and material aspects of the traditional Aboriginal lifestyle and uses stories, discussions, and bush walks to teach ethnobotany, tool making, and Aboriginal environmental philosophy. Russell is also a renowned artist and an actor. He has worked with SIT since 1993.

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Lecturer
Photo of Helena Norberg Hodge

Helena is an author, filmmaker and pioneer of the “new economy” movement. Helena’s book, Ancient Futures, which has been made into a film, has been called “an inspirational classic.” Earth Journal counted her among the “10 most interesting environmentalists,” and she received the Right Livelihood Award, or “Alternative Nobel Prize.” Helena studied linguistics at the University of London and MIT. She founded the International Society for Ecology and Culture, is a founding member of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture, and co-founded the International Forum on Globalization and Global Ecovillage Network. Helena previously taught in SIT’s International Honors Program. She lectures on globalization and the localization movement.

Mary Graham, DUniv
Mary is a highly respected Kombu-merri elder, researcher, and former academic who has held senior positions in Aboriginal organizations. She has been a member of the prime minister’s Reconciliation Council, an elected member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, and a fellow at the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action. She is a member of the Ethics Council of the Congress of Australian First Nations. Mary teaches a workshop on Aboriginal worldviews and has worked with SIT since 1993.