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Ngaanyatjarraku Eco Green

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Eco-friendly businesses in Ngaanyatjarraku

Ngaanyatjarraku is a vast and remote region in Western Australia, spanning over 250,000 square kilometers and encompassing several Indigenous communities. Despite its harsh and arid environment, this region is home to various enterprises that strive to promote sustainability, conservation, and social responsibility. These businesses not only reduce their ecological footprint and preserve natural resources, but also support local livelihoods, culture, and education. Here are some examples of such businesses in Ngaanyatjarraku, classified into four categories based on their activities and impacts.

1. Renewable energy

Renewable energy is one of the most promising and accessible ways to mitigate climate change and enhance energy independence in remote areas. Several businesses in Ngaanyatjarraku offer solar and wind power solutions for households, clinics, schools, and businesses. These include:

- Desert Power Inc., a Ngaanyatjarra-owned company that designs and installs solar panels and batteries for off-grid systems, as well as provides energy auditing, maintenance, and training services to communities. Their solar hubs and grids enable reliable and affordable electricity for various appliances, from lights and fridges to computers and pumps. Desert Power also supports local employment and capacity building by hiring and training Indigenous people as technicians and managers. Contact: (08) 8952 0553.
- Regional Wind and Solar, a Kalgoorlie-based company that supplies and installs solar panels, batteries, inverters, and wind turbines for residential and commercial customers across Western Australia. Their products are certified by international standards and backed by warranties and after-sales support. Regional Wind and Solar also conducts site assessments, designs custom solutions, and facilitates financing and rebates to make solar and wind energy more accessible and affordable. Contact: (08) 9021 6340.
- Solaris Energy, a Perth-based company that provides turnkey solar power solutions for remote communities, mining and pastoral sites, and Indigenous organisations. Their services include project management, engineering, procurement, and construction of solar farms, hybrid systems, and microgrids that can generate up to 20 MW of electricity. Solaris Energy also offers remote monitoring, maintenance, and training to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the systems. Contact: (08) 6245 6565.

Benefits: Renewable energy businesses in Ngaanyatjarraku reduce the reliance on fossil fuel-generated power, lower the carbon footprint, improve air quality and health, and increase energy security and affordability. By using solar and wind power, communities can save money on diesel or gas-fired generators, reduce noise pollution, and reduce the risk of fuel spills or fires. Renewable energy also creates local jobs, skills, and empowerment, as well as stimulates innovation and adaptation to climate change.

2. Ecotourism

Ecotourism is a type of tourism that focuses on natural and cultural heritage conservation, education, and community development. Ngaanyatjarraku has unique landscapes, flora, fauna, and stories that can fascinate and enrich visitors from around the world. However, ecotourism must be done in a sustainable and respectful way that benefits the environment and the local people, rather than exploiting or damaging them. Some examples of ecotourism ventures in Ngaanyatjarraku are:

- Outback Spirit Tours, a Perth-based tour operator that offers small-group tours to remote and off-the-beaten-track destinations in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Their programs include visits to Indigenous communities, national parks, conservation reserves, cultural sites, and natural wonders such as Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Outback Spirit Tours prioritizes ethical, educational, and immersive experiences that respect Indigenous knowledge, customs, and aspirations. They also support local businesses, hire local guides and drivers, and donate part of their profits to community development projects. Contact: (08) 6269 6020.
- Warakurna Artists, a community-owned art center located in Warakurna, a small town on the western edge of Ngaanyatjarraku. Warakurna Artists showcases and markets the artworks of more than 100 Indigenous artists from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, using a range of media such as painting, carving, weaving, and screenprinting. Their art reflects the stories, traditions, and landscapes of the region, as well as the individual talents and perspectives of the artists. Warakurna Artists also offers art workshops, cultural tours, and language classes to visitors, who can learn about the local culture and support the local economy. Contact: (08) 8956 8090.
- Kunawarritji Karijini Tours, a joint venture between the Martu people of the Western Desert and the Karijini Eco Retreat in the Pilbara region. This tour offers a unique opportunity to explore the ancient and awe-inspiring gorges, pools, and landscapes of Karijini National Park, while learning from the Martu guides about their culture, history, and way of life. The tour includes camping, hiking, swimming, and stargazing, as well as visits to Warlu Junction, a Martu-owned wilderness lodge and farm. The tour promotes mutual understanding, respect, and appreciation between the Martu and non-Indigenous visitors, as well as provides income and employment for the Martu. Contact: (08) 9144 1777.

Benefits: Ecotourism businesses in Ngaanyatjarraku promote conservation and appreciation of the natural and cultural values of the region, as well as create opportunities for education, cross-cultural exchange, and economic development. Ecotourism can also enhance the sense of pride, identity, and empowerment of the local communities, who can share their stories, knowledge, and perspectives with the visitors. Ecotourism can also motivate and support conservation efforts, as tourists may become ambassadors and advocates for the protection of the unique environments and species they encounter.

3. Recycling and waste management

Recycling and waste management are critical components of a sustainable and circular economy, where materials are reused, repurposed, or composted instead of being discarded and polluting the environment. Ngaanyatjarraku faces challenges of waste disposal and management due to its remote location, limited infrastructure, and cultural diversity. However, some businesses have devised innovative and culturally appropriate ways to deal with waste and litter, such as:

- Western Desert Dialysis, an Indigenous health organization that operates dialysis centers in several remote communities in Western Australia. They have developed a program called Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku (Our Family, Our Health, Our Future), which aims to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous people through recycling and cleaning up of the communities. The program engages the community members, including Elders, youth, women, and men, in collecting and sorting recyclable materials, such as plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard, and scrap metal. The materials are then sent to recycling facilities, where they are turned into new products. The program also raises awareness about waste reduction, littering, and healthy living, as well as creates employment and social cohesion. Contact: (08) 8953 6444.
- Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council (NPYWC), an Indigenous organization that represents the interests and needs of the women and children in 28 communities in the Western Desert. The council has established a recycling enterprise called Tjanpi Desert Weavers, which uses natural and recycled fibers to create baskets, sculptures, and other artworks. The project provides income and training for more than 400 Indigenous women, who use traditional skills and materials to produce contemporary and innovative art. The project also promotes cultural continuity, mental health, and economic empowerment for the women, as well as conservation of the local flora and fauna by reducing plastic waste in the environment. Contact: (08) 8950 1900.
- Envirocomp, an Australian-owned company that provides on-site composting solutions for organic waste in various settings, from homes and gardens to schools, offices, and hospitals. Envirocomp's composting machines use a patented HotRot process that quickly transforms food scraps, garden waste, and other organic matter into high-quality fertilizer, without emitting odors, pathogens, and pollutants. The fertilizer can then be used to enrich soil, reduce erosion, and enhance plant growth, without relying on synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Envirocomp also offers training, support, and maintenance services to ensure that the composting machines operate efficiently and safely. Contact: 1300 667 343.

Benefits: Recycling and waste management businesses in Ngaanyatjarraku reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills or pollutes the environment, promote resource conservation and regeneration, and create local jobs and skills. By recycling, the businesses also reduce the demand for virgin materials and energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling can also facilitate social interaction, pride, and cultural expression, as people can use recycled materials to create artworks, tools, or buildings that reflect their identity and values.

4. Sustainable agriculture and food

Sustainable agriculture and food systems are crucial components of a healthy and resilient community, as they provide nutritious and diverse food, conserve biodiversity, and enhance the natural and social ecosystems. Ngaanyatjarraku has a rich range of native plants, animals, and seeds that can be used for food and medicine, as well as locally adapted farming practices that can be revived and enhanced. Some examples of businesses that promote sustainable agriculture and food in Ngaanyatjarraku are:

- Papulankutja Artists, a community-owned art center located in Blackstone, a remote town in the Western Desert. Papulankutja Artists fosters sustainable and culturally appropriate food production and distribution through their Warakurna Kitchen project, which involves the cultivation of bush tucker, fruit trees, and vegetables in a community garden and orchard. The produce is then prepared and sold as healthy and affordable meals at the Warakurna Roadhouse and other local venues. The project also promotes cultural revival, environmental awareness, and entrepreneurship, as the artists and their families use the garden as a source of inspiration, learning, and income. Contact: (08) 8956 8470.
- Yirri Grove, an Aboriginal-owned and operated olive grove and food business located in Carnarvon, a coastal town in Western Australia. Yirri Grove grows and harvests olives using sustainable and organic methods, and produces a range of quality olive products, such as oils, tapenades, dukkah, and balsamic vinegar. The products are sold online, in their farm shop, and in various local and national markets. Yirri Grove also supports and collaborates with other Indigenous businesses and organizations, and promotes cultural awareness and respect among the customers, employees, and stakeholders. Contact: (08) 9943 0593.
- Karrkad-Kanjdji Trust, a not-for-profit organization that supports Indigenous-led conservation and land management in the West Arnhem Land region, which includes parts of Ngaanyatjarraku. The Trust works with Indigenous rangers, researchers, and leaders to protect and enhance the natural and cultural values of the region, such as freshwater systems, savannas, forests, and cultural sites. The Trust also conducts research, monitoring, and education to inform and evaluate the conservation strategies and outcomes. The Trust engages with Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders, such as government agencies, NGOs, and the mining industry, to ensure that the conservation efforts are sustainable, respectful, and effective. Contact: (08) 8981 1327.

Benefits: Sustainable agriculture and food businesses in Ngaanyatjarraku provide access to healthy and culturally appropriate food, support biodiversity conservation and regeneration, and create opportunities for local employment and entrepreneurship. Sustainable farming practices can also reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, such as soil erosion, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable agriculture can also enhance the resilience, adaptation, and innovation of the local communities, as they can learn from the traditional and modern knowledge and practices of farming and managing ecosystems.

Ngaanyatjarraku has a diverse and dynamic set of businesses that contribute to eco-green practices and outcomes. These businesses demonstrate the potential and the challenges of promoting sustainability, conservation, and social responsibility in a remote and culturally diverse environment. However, these businesses also show that such challenges can be overcome by creativity, collaboration, and commitment, as well as by respecting and enhancing the knowledge, values, and aspirations of the local communities and the environment.

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