Indigenous strategies, such as traditional fire and land management practices, and communal decision making processes can be drawn upon to inform planning and action, to build a broad united movement that sweeps decision makers up in a momentum that can no longer be ignored.
"I am pleased to be able to work with Better Futures Australia to encourage more meaningful and targeted action on climate change. I am convinced there are countless untapped opportunities to mitigate and limit the damage of climate change. Our Great Barrier Reef and the many tourism jobs associated with it require action. The life of our rivers and the communities tied to them, the many towns and families threatened by fires and flooding. The Torres Strait Islands, being inundated with rising sea levels and Aboriginal communities across central Australia enduring insufferable heat, and Aboriginal communities desperate to keep their environment clear of fracking chemicals must be heard. These are threats that will impact all of us."
The Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation-Australia (IPO) is a national coalition of 285 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and people who are committed to advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples. As Co-Chair to the IPO, Cathryn Eatock's work covers a wide range of concerns from cultural heritage, land and climate management, remote communities, welfare entitlements, housing and services, community well-being and self-determination as the key overarching right, that is the foundation of all other rights.
"We can intervene now to prevent destruction, to maintain the fine balance of nature. Aboriginal culture as the longest ongoing continuous culture in the world has valuable lessons to share. It’s about respect for each other, it’s about respect for all living things and its about respect for the planet. I look forward to drawing on the wisdom and knowledge of the many Aboriginal people and communities I work with, through the Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation of Australia."
The IPO draws on United Nations mechanisms and instruments, such as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to assert the recognition of our rights within Australia.
"Aboriginal culture is based on an awareness of our responsibility to our children and generations beyond. We are custodians of country for those that have yet to be born. The impact of climate change is becoming more and more apparent, yet Australia is virtually out on its own globally among developed countries in its failure to take adequate action. But Australia is in a position, with all of our natural resources, to be leading the world on renewable energy. We need to take our place in the world as constructive leaders before it is too late.
"Australia needs to engage with experts and Aboriginal communities impacted in decision making around water and land management. Phase out extractive industries, including gas, fracking and coal. Develop alternative energy employment opportunities to assist these regions to transition. Enact legislation that holds polluters of greenhouse gasses accountable to ensure prompt compliance."
Cathryn Eatock is Co-Chair of the Indigenous Peoples' Organisation-Australia