The important role of First Nations peoples in addressing climate change is a key theme behind the First Nations Climate Summit, part of Queensland’s first ever Climate Week.
This week, more than 30 events are being held across Queensland as part of Climate Week and in the lead-up to World Environment Day, involving thousands of people.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said this was the first ever climate week for Queensland, and for Australia.
“Today’s First Nations Summit will highlight the role that First Nations peoples have played over thousands of generations in managing climate impacts,” she said.
“First Nations peoples have been living alongside the Great Barrier Reef for 65,000 years, experiencing its changes and documenting those changes through stories, dance, song, art and ceremony.
“As critical knowledge holders and educators, First Nations peoples have a critical role to play in how we go forward in tackling climate change.”
Coordinated by Queensland’s First Nations Climate Leadership Group, the Summit is including more than 70 First Nations peoples.
First Nations Climate Leadership Group member, Leann Wilson, said the Summit was an important opportunity to bring people together to have a conversation about climate change.
“First Nations peoples have been managing climate change for longer than anyone,” Ms Wilson said.
“The issues and impacts of climate change are complex and there will be a range of views among First Nations peoples. The first step is to talk about it, and listen to each other. That’s why this First Nations Climate Summit is so important.
“It’s important that we have a voice in debate and in policy development. We are pleased that the Queensland Government has recognised this and included the First Nations Climate Summit as part of Climate Week QLD.”
Minister Enoch said First Nations peoples are the longest continuous surviving people of any group on Earth.
“The Summit will help decision-makers to hear the voices of Queensland’s First Nations peoples and learn the lessons they teach when it comes to addressing climate-related risks.”
Alongside the written outcomes of the Summit, a message stick will also be produced, made from Gidyea tree wood, known for its strength and longevity. This instrument is used to capture and carry the collective knowledge and wisdom of the 4R’s - responsibility, relationships, respect and remembering.
Outcomes of the First Nations Climate Summit will be shared with leaders from the Asia-Pacific region at an event tonight.
More information about Climate Week is available here: www.climateweekqld.com
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch