Australian Migrants and Environmental Values: How and Why do Certain Migrants Practice Care?


This project is designed to provide an in-depth picture of Australian migrants who care about the environment, how they came to do so, and what these practices of care constitute in terms of a) everyday practices; b) activities during environmental catastrophes such as bushfires.

The project aims to interview 20 individuals from various ethnic backgrounds in the 18-40-year-old age group who are resident in Sydney, and who are currently Australian citizens or permanent residents.

While there is little research on the environmental values and practices of recent non-European migrants in the Australian context, there are strong reasons for undertaking this work. In an overview of the literature on ethnicity and Australia’s population and environment debates, Klocker and Head concluded that positioning ethnic diversity at the forefront of cultural environmental research is vital. This is because it is important to see them as contributing to sustainability practices in their communities, and not as burdens or an urban congestion problem.

In addition to the rationale provided above, it must also be noted that despite the everyday sustainabilities of these ethnic groups, they are barely visible in Australian and global environmental movements. This in turn creates the perception of their inactivity on this front and conjures up a narrative of either apathy or individual aspiration at the cost of collective environmental concern. Therefore, it is essential that the environmental ‘influencers’ in these communities be identified so that their voices and stories can be amplified and help shape practices in their cultural and residential communities.

This project has been designed as a pilot study. As such, the researcher is open to speaking to potential partner organisations for extending the project scope and impact.


Dr Sukhmani Khorana

Read the report here