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‘Indigenous people feel the climate crisis. Our land is a part of us’

‘Indigenous people feel the climate crisis. Our land is a part of us’

As a proud Torres Strait Islander woman, I have witnessed the effects of climate change on my islands.

As a representative for both sides, I traveled to COP26 in Glasgow on behalf of my people. Seed Indigenous Youth Climate NetworkAnd Our Islands Our Home, a campaign urging the Australian government not to do less to protect the Torres Strait Islands.

A fisherman, whose livelihood relies on his catch, casts his net from a boat off Hammond Island in the Torres Strait.

A fisherman whose livelihood is dependent on his catch casts his line from a boat at Hammond Island in Torres Strait.Credit:Kate Geraghty

As Indigenous people, we don’t just see the climate crisis, we feel it. Our land is part of who we are, part of our identity. This connection to land and one another extends far beyond the oceans, and across the seas.

It’s these connections and knowledge of our homelands that is absolutely critical in the collective fight for climate justice.

While world leaders sat on their hands, making empty and misleading promises, it wasn’t a young Samoan woman called Brianna Fruean. Pacific Climate WarriorsThe author cautioned about the power of the words and said there was no place for pity when fighting climate change.

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Brianna pointed out “how climate action can be vastly different to climate justice, how two degrees could mean the end, and 1.5 could mean a fighting chance”. She shared a chilling message with world leaders that “in your words, you wield the weapons that can save us or sell us out”.

When I return to Australia, I return with a message I have delivered many times, but now I’m further fuelled by the many First Nations communities I know are fighting with me.

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PHOTO COURTESY GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE

To Australia, I’m saying this: Support First Nations communities. Support us in our fight against climate injustice, for land rights and for self-determination. These are essential pieces in our fight to end the climate crisis. Capitalism and colonialism have created the climate crisis. But Indigenous leadership can resolve it.

The state leaders have now left Glasgow, but we will fight. There is an Indigenous people’s action planned over the weekend, and make no mistake, we are rising.

Tishiko is the campaigns director Seed MobFor community organizers Our Islands Our Home.




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