There is an extremely important case going on right now that we thought you should know about. For the first time in history, the people of the Torres Strait Islands are presenting a climate change related human rights case case against the Australian government.
Supported by the region’s land and sea council and represented by environmental lawyers, Torres Strait Islanders are taking a climate change complaint against Australia to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. This case is the first of its kind in the world, and it is hugely important. The people of the Torres Strait are calling on the Australian Government to increase emission reduction targets, instead of advocating for the fossil fuel industry. Scientists say that current targets needs to be increased in order to protect the world’s most climate vulnerable populations, and in turn, the Torres Strait Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Torres Strait is a pristine wilderness region, containing the most northerly part the Great Barrier Reef. It is home to one of the world’s oldest living cultures, as well as many rare and endangered species. The people of the Torres Strait are directly affected by rising sea levels, increased acidity in the oceans, heat waves, intense rainfall and a longer dry season. These factors combined are impacting greatly on the Torres Strait Islanders, directly affecting their homes, safety, accessibility to food, community and mental health. And with temperatures and sea levels climbing higher each year, they are running out of time.
With the recent celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, there is no better time for Australians to stand in solidarity with the Torres Strait Islanders. Although those living in the islands are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, these effects are already affecting us all, and without urgent change, will continue to worsen each year.
Head to the Our Islands, Our Home website to find out more and add your signature to the petition. They have also created an Instagram profile (see post above), so head over and give them a follow to stay updated on the case as it proceeds.
(Images source: tsirc.qld.gov.au)