It’s NAIDOC Week – a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and recognise the contributions made by Indigenous Australians to our country and society.
In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are on the frontline of climate change impacts – with rising sea levels in the Torres Strait, the destruction of sacred country, diminishing food and water accessibility.
But they’re also at the forefront of change. Here are four Indigenous Australian climate champions – from youth activists to renewable technology innovators – fighting for solutions to the climate crisis. What a bunch of legends!
1. Amelia Telford
National Co-Director, Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network
Amelia Telford is a young old Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman from Bundjalung country in Northern NSW. She’s the National Co-Director of the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network – a national grassroots movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, fighting for climate justice and a sustainable future powered by renewable energy.
Amelia was awarded National NAIDOC Youth of Year in 2014, Bob Brown’s Young Environmentalist of the Year 2015 and Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year 2015. Go Amelia! Check out the Seed website here.
2. Raymond Pratt
CEO, AllGrid Energy
Raymond Pratt is an Arrernte man from Alice Springs, and is the CEO of Australia’s first Indigenous-owned renewable technology company AllGrid Energy. The Queensland-based company offers a 10KwH battery storage system to rival the Tesla Powerwall!
AllGrid is currently rolling out the first stage of its Oasis Strategy, which aims to create energy sovereignty, community empowerment and economic self-reliance for remote and disadvantaged communities – using renewable energy as the first step. Find out more about AllGrid here.
3. Vic McGrath
Senior Community Liaison Officer, Torres Strait Regional Authority
A respected member of the Torres Strait Island communities, Vic McGrath has worked to raise awareness throughout Australia about the risks of climate change to these islands. Often acting as a bridge between authorities and these at-risk communities, Vic is acclaimed for his unique ability to effortlessly transverse cultural, scientific and governance domains.
Vic has provided a vital contribution to community engagement in the development of the Torres Strait Adaptation and Resilience Project. And just this week Vic was awarded the NCCARF 2015-16 Individual Climate Adaptation Champion:
Read more here.
4. Josh Gilbert
Young Farmer and Climate Advocate
Josh is a young farmer, climate advocate and Worimi Man from the Mid North Coast of NSW. He is passionate about his Aboriginal and agricultural heritage and has been active in breaking down stereotypes within these two groups. In 2015 alone, Josh was one of two young Australian farmers to attend COP21 and the Conference of Youth in Paris, and led the NSW Young Farmers’ Climate Change motion through the NSW Farmers Annual Conference.
“I look over the land where my family farm and know that’s where my ancestors were thousands of years ago. Knowing there is that connection to the land is something I feel wholeheartedly… looking after the land so that I can share that with future generations is something I’m passionate about achieving results for.” Read more here.
Check out the NAIDOC website to learn more about NAIDOC week.
Amelia Telford: Twitter, Jeff Tan via Seed, Kiernan Ironfield via Australian Geographic
Raymond Pratt: LinkedIn, Graeme Smith via ABC News
Vic McGrath: TSRA, National Museum of Australia, Twitter
Josh Gilbert: Climate Media Centre, SBS News