Interim Director Eriel Deranger travels to Power Shift Australia!
Indigenous Climate Action believes it is not only important to create relationships which links climate action by Indigenous communities across Turtle Island’s, we also believe that creating these links globally is integral to the overall mitigation of climate impacts. Climate change is not something that is limited to geographical areas and unfortunately effects climates, environments, and people who have not been directly exposed or involved with the causes. As a part of Indigenous Climate Action’s larger and more broad objectives to make connections with Indigenous Nations on an International level director Eriel Deranger has recently taken part in the Power shift Australia event hosted in Australia. Industrial activities and environmental destruction is an economy that spans across the globe which in return must require simultaneous action to prevent further impacts on Indigenous territories if we want to achieve our goals. Her experience at the event differs from other Power-shift
events she has attended in North America and gives precedence for all discussions, events, and movements to centralise Indigenous voices if true success is desired.
Eriel states that much of Powershift Australia’s success comes from the hard work of a group called Seed Mob who brought over 200 Indigenous Australia and Torre Straight Islanders to the event and brought forward a critical voice in the climate justice movement there. Descriptions leading up to the event stated, “We are on track to having 200 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grassroots activists and changemakers join us, which will be the largest gathering of young blackfullas that we know of! We’ll be together from July 22nd-24th sharing stories, building skills and developing plans to keep fossil fuels in the ground and protect our country, culture, and climate.” Eriel has described this experience as, “One of the most powerful Powershifts I have ever attended where the voices, strength, and knowledge of Indigenous peoples was so front and centre.”
Further to her experience taking part in the Powershift events, workshops, and learning from other attendee’s Eriel didn’t fail in providing first hand insight on the struggles Indigenous communities of Turtle Island’s face during the panels she spoke on and her keynote speech at the event. Speaking on the “How is climate change affecting Indigenous peoples” panel Eriel provided information on experiences she has learned through her work with ICA but also the impacts she has witnessed in her home community. A big part of this panel included discussing how Indigenous communities are organising to ensure that we are an active part of finding solutions that work for our cultures and climates. Additionally, she also provided insight on what it takes to begin organising a community for effective action towards environmental justice. An important point that was also spoken to by Eriel was why it is so important right now for all communities to take action and demand for change. The topics, workshops, and dialogue that was present during Powershift Australia demonstrates similarities between the challenges we face as original peoples. These issues are very challenging and at times overwhelming but it is the collective organisation of Indigenous communities which will continue to drive the shift in industrial economies.
Following a packed agenda which provided a well-rounded understanding on climate change impacts and action the event ended with a march/protest in the streets of Melbourne. This march saw representatives from IEN and the International Youth Council speak. Eriel is now traveling with Seed Mob in the Northern Territory of Australia to meet with communities that are fighting fracking in their territories. They are travelling from Melbourne to Darwin, then to Mataranka, Tennant Crreek, and then to Alice Springs to listen to the voices of those whoa re fighting fracking industries in their territories.
After all that has been experienced in Australia for Eriel, an important aspect of our movements is to connect our efforts in a manner that is effective. ICA asks that you take the time to click here to sign this petition to ban fracking in these communities.
More photos of this Power shift event can be found on the Australian Youth Climate Coalition's Facebook page.