Torres Strait Island climate campaign paddle out at Coffs Jetty

Aunty Grace, Greens Mayoral candidate Jonathan Cassell and local Naru Group members and supporters at the Our Islands Our Home climate campaign Paddle Out at Coffs Jetty.


LOCAL surfers joined in the ‘Our Islands Our Home’ climate crisis campaign, in a Paddle Out on Sunday, 7 November.

Their action showed support for Torres Strait Islanders and their home which campaigners say is amongst the most vulnerable to climate change.

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“We had a great morning down at the Jetty,” Amber Mercy from the Coffs Naru Team told News Of The Area.

“It was particularly an honour to have Aunty Grace who is from the Torres Strait (now residing in Coffs) come and share firsthand stories and accounts of the changes she has seen, and also the stories she has been passed on from her Elders.”

Organisers Surfers for Climate say Zenadth Kes (the Torres Strait) is on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

“Rising sea levels, king tides, erosion, inundation and coral bleaching are threatening the homes and cultures of Torres Strait Islander people, while the Australian Government refuses to address the climate crisis.

“If these climate impacts continue, without urgent action – our islands could become uninhabitable in our lifetimes.

“As world leaders meet at COP26, our message to them is that ‘oceans are rising, so are we’.

“From Zenadth Kes to Glasgow, Torres Strait Islanders are calling out the Morrison Government for its poor climate policies.”

From Sunday, a wave of grassroots actions starting in Zenadth Kes made its way down the coastline of Australia, demanding the Australian Government: fund adaptation programs that will allow Zenadth Kes communities to adapt to climate impacts; commit to going 100% renewables in Australia in the next 10 years; support Zenadth Kes communities to build community-owned renewable energy; transition away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible through a just transition for workers; and push the world to increase global ambition and keep warming to less than 1.5 degrees.

The Naru Team’s overall message is, “We want our kids to be able to practise their traditions, and their culture without the impact of climate change hanging over their shoulders and to always have a place to call home for generations to come.”

Convener of Coffs Harbour Greens, Jonathan Cassell, was at the Paddle Out, and told News Of The Area, “I’m here today to support strong action on climate change and to work with our First Nations people who may have solutions to the climate crisis we need to consider.

“The time for action to replace fossil fuel energy has never been greater but surely we can learn a thing or two from the world’s oldest continuous culture.

“The Greens are fighting for climate justice at all levels of government because the stories we’ve heard this morning from the Torres Strait tell us recently built sea walls are already failing to stop king tides.

“I encourage everyone who is concerned about our changing climate to contact our MPs but I also encourage people to look at the world through First Nations eyes and to regularly take time to care for Country.

“A stable and safe climate is a global decision as well as a personal question asking why we should care about the world our kids will inherit.”




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