Fighting to save their ancestral lands

Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul are taking the Australian government to court to protect their homeland, their culture and their community from climate change. Sign the petition and urge the Australian prime minister to take urgent climate action.

What’s the problem?

Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul are Indigenous leaders of the Guda Maluyligal Nation in the Torres Strait in the northernmost part of Australia. Their ancestors have lived on the islands for thousands of years.

Because of climate change, their way of life, traditional knowledge systems, cultural practices and spiritual connections that have been passed down from generation to generation may be destroyed. Rising sea levels are causing more destruction every year by eroding beaches, destroying sacred cultural sites and cemeteries where ancestors are buried, wrecking food gardens, and threatening the islands’ infrastructure.

Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul turned to the courts, arguing that the Australian government is taking insufficient action to prevent damage from climate change, resulting in the destruction of their lands and culture.

Unless urgent action is taken, many Torres Strait Islanders will be forced to leave their homes as large areas become uninhabitable. This would be devastating for the communities. As Uncle Pabai says: “We are born to these islands, they are our mothers, our identities, who we are. For thousands of years, our warrior families fought off anyone who tried to take our homelands from us. But now, we could lose the fight to climate change.”   

What can you do to help?

Sign the petition and demand the rights of First Nations communities in the Torres Strait are protected, by rapidly reducing carbon emissions in line with the world commitment of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC in line with the best available scientific research.