Traditional Owners are leading the fight for climate action in Oz!


To Fight Climate Change, we need Climate Justice

Climate change impacts the entire world, but its effects are not felt equally. In Australia and across the globe, the people least responsible for warming the planet are the ones being hit hardest by the effects of that warming. 

Promising to fight climate change is, on its own, not enough. The fight has to ensure that the people on the frontlines of the crisis have everything they need to ensure an equitable future. That’s what we mean by climate justice. Climate justice means respecting Indigenous rights. And experts around the world agree that respecting Indigenous rights and sovereignty is one of the keys to fighting the climate crisis. 

We all win when new fossil fuel projects are stopped - any new fossil fuel projects will have a disastrous impact on our planet. Science tells us we cannot have any new fossil fuels extracted and burned if we are going to stop the planet from overshooting 1.5Cº. 

In Australia, Traditional Owners are continuing to lead the way in the fight for climate justice and are showing the world what real leadership and environmental stewardship looks like! We’ve rounded up some of the most powerful wins from 2022 … 

#1 Torres Strait Islanders took the Australian Gov to court… and won!

Our Islands Our Home is a powerful campaign led by Torres Strait Islanders to protect their Island homes from the impacts of climate change. Urgent climate action from our Government is needed so Torres Strait Islanders can remain on their Islands. ⁠

To fight back against the rising tides impacting low lying islands, a group of Torres Strait Islanders called The Torres Strait 8 took the Australian Government to the UN, demanding the Government not just provide resources for adaptation, but to take urgent action so the climate crisis doesn’t get worse.

The Torres Strait 8 made history when in 2022 the UN decision was released - and they agreed! Not only did the UN say that the Australian Government must do everything it can to stop further climate change, but that it must pay compensation to impacted Torres Strait Islanders as they did not contribute to the climate crisis! This is a huge decision that will have an impact for First Nations peoples all over the world. You can add your voice in solidarity and sign the petition to the Government to enact the UN decision here

#2 Tiwi Islanders fought to stop Santos from drilling Sea Country 

Traditional Owners of the Tiwi Islanders took fossil fuel giant Santos to Court, challenging the Government's decision to let Santos drill for gas on sea Country because Santos hadn’t considered the impact this would have on Traditional Owners connection to the sea Country. 

Munupi elder Dennis Tipakalippa filed the case saying Traditional Owners feared the Santos project would damage the environment, way of life and wellbeing. And after a historic week-long hearing on Country, Traditional Owners of the Tiwi Islands won, and stopped Santos from drilling for polluting gas offshore of the Tiwi Islands! You can read more about the powerful win, here!

#3 Seedmob stopped fossil fuel giant Origin Energy from fracking on Country in the NT!

After years of staunch opposition from Traditional Owners and communities on the frontlines of gas extraction across the Northern Territory, Seedmob announced in September 2022 that Origin Energy had divested 100% of their interests in the Beetaloo Basin!

As Seedmob said ‘This is a huge win for Traditional Owners, communities and everyone involved who constantly packed on the public pressure and made sure Origin Energy felt the heat from their dangerous gas plans’. 

But the fight isn’t over because there are still other fossil fuel companies who are going ahead with dangerous fracking projects in the Northern Territory that put culture, country and our climate at risk! You can stand alongside Seedmob in solidarity as they continue to fight to protect country from devastating impacts of fossil fuel extraction. Take action by signing the petition and donating to Seedmob, here!