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Indigenous voices are still not included in the IPCC reports. Join us at our sacred fires for answers to climate change
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Indigenous voices are still not included in the IPCC reports. Join us at our sacred fires for answers to climate change

A metre-high wall of sandbags divides the space between beach and a home in the Torres Strait.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Assessment reportsThey have a great influence on government decisions regarding climate change. The Latest reportThis week’s launch features the first ever. Indigenous KnowledgesAlong with Western scientific research.

Previous IPCC reports had only included evidence of how climate change has affected Indigenous Peoples. This report includes actual Indigenous Knowledges, which is a significant improvement over previous IPCC reports. Years of lobbyingBy IPCC lead authors and other organisations

However, unlike other IPCC chapters the Chapter Australasia did not include Indigenous lead authors. Our inclusion could have contributed to ways of thinking, understanding and knowing that would have strengthened the report and facilitated subsequent media coverage.

Better representation of Indigenous Voices

Lead authors of the IPCC are Selections were made based on their expertise and approved by their home country’s government.

The five authors of this article recommended that the Australian government approve the next IPCC assessment (AR7) to properly represent Indigenous voices in the lead author selections for the Australasian section.

Two non-Indigenous lead writers (Lansbury & Pecl) have contributed to the publication. Current report. We invited three Indigenous scholars, Moggridge Creamer and Mosby to contribute authors. Specific sectionsThe draft report.

These contributing authors brought science to their respective heritages, as well as cultural understanding. CountriesKamilaroi (Moggridge), Waanyi (Creamer), Kalkadoon and Kalkadoon, and the Meriam Nation at the Torres Strait. (Mosby).

The invitation to be contributing authors relied on the lead authors’ goodwill, not on government selection. The contributing authors co-wrote sections about Indigenous Peoples and reviewed the Australasian chapter draft for appropriate and respectful depiction of Indigenous Peoples.

However, as per IPCC’s strict protocols for any contributing authors, this was only a reviewing role. The lead authors had Final verdictOn the text. The Australasian chapter may not have received Indigenous input if the lead authors hadn’t asked Indigenous authors to participate.

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We are the first to be affected and the last to hear

Australia has among the world’s highest greenhouse gas emissions per person. Indigenous Peoples in Australia contribute The leastemissions are the ones most affected by the effects.

The Current severe floodingRecent droughts and bushfires as well as fish-kills and fish-kills in 2019-2020 prove that the climate has changed. We are being forced to urgently act for our Country and People because we have delayed in taking action. You can adapt.

One-fifth the Indigenous Australian population lives in remote regions where climate change is a problem. raises risksfor our health and quality of life.

This could lead to the loss of traditional foods on Country. Sometimes, communities are forced to change their diets, which can have a negative impact on nutrition.

Some communities are also facing water insecurity, loss land and cultural resources due to land erosion and sea-level rising. Parts of Torres Strait are experiencing their ancestors’ burial sites exposedAfter saltwater intrusion, sea level rise.

A metre-high wall of sandbags divides the space between beach and a home in the Torres Strait.

Rising sea levels are severely affecting the Torres Strait Islands. A wall of sandbags a metre high stands between the high tide mark and the back door to a house on Poruma Island, Torres Strait.
Phillemon Mosby/AAP Image

Many of our mob members are poor and have underlying health issues in First Nations communities. more vulnerableTo a warmer climate.

But, we are slowly recognizing our role in finding solutions to the problems caused by climate change. Recognizing your contribution. This is despite the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesEncourage self-determination This should include Indigenous Peoples, who should be key stakeholders in climate change decisions.

This self-determination is possible Already happening in Aotearoa/New Zealand, which has a Treaty obligation ensuring Māori Knowledges are considered.

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In-built survival skills and stewardship

Indigenous Peoples Manage around 25% of the earth’s territory, containing 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. Trends of declining biodiversity are on average You can avoid or make it less severeIn areas managed by Indigenous Peoples or local communities.

The global population of over 1.2 billion is clear. 370 millionIndigenous Peoples take their responsibility seriously to protect the land and water they live on for the future.

The Indigenous-led reviewThe Lowitja Institute commissioned a study on climate change and its impact on Indigenous Peoples in Australia. It documented our diverse leadership in the care of Country.

The review found that Indigenous-led initiatives in climate change adaptation and emission reduction can improve well-being of Indigenous Peoples. It was launched at last year’s COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow.

A young person walks across a dried up water hole. They walk with sadness.
Author Bradley Moggridge’s son Kye walks across a drought-stricken water hole at Gwydir Wetlands.
Bradley Moggridge, Author provided (no resemblance)

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Why the Australian government must listen and learn from Torres Strait leaders regarding climate change

Positive steps towards recoginising Indigenous Knowledges

The IPCC reportThis is a reminder of the exclusion of Indigenous Australians from climate change decision making. Indigenous Knowledges are often considered inferior or misunderstood. As legend, myth, or fable.

Our Knowledges are based on thousands of years worth of observations and practices that help keep Country healthy.

The Uluru Statement From the HeartThis powerful proposal will allow Australia to have a direct voice in decision making. It has been, however. DeletedTwo successive prime ministers.

However, this Latest IPCC ReportIt is clear that inclusion is on the rise. The IPCC chapter AustraliaNow, recognizes:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can improve effective adaptation through the sharing of knowledge about climate changes planning that promotes mutual assistance and collective action.

It then describes the importance of Indigenous Knowledges with regard to fire management and cultural flows.

The IPCC chapter on climate resilient developmentLooks to Indigenous Knowledges in oral stories for better understanding of ecosystem change over the course of time.

Despite these advances, our Peoples still require better inclusion and representation in climate research, dialogue, decision-making, and other related areas.

Looking forward to the next IPCC Report

The IPCC can be consulted by governments and the governments. Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services(IPBES), for leadership in respecting and including Indigenous Knowledges and Indigenous scholars This platform acts as its policyRecognize:

Local communities and Indigenous Peoples possess extensive knowledge of biodiversity and ecosystem trends. This knowledge is a direct result of their dependence on their local ecosystems. They also have observations and interpretations of changes that have been passed down through many generations.

The next iteration of the IPCC’s work will benefit from Indigenous representation and leadership as appointed by governments in their lead author teams.

We Indigenous Peoples are available and ready. Come join us at sacred fires to listen. We can respond to the call for climate change action, just like our thousands of predecessor generations.


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