When we see the beauty of our country, of our stunning natural landscapes, we also witness the enduring strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples’ culture.
First Nations people have shaped and managed land and sea country for millennia. Connection to country is a crucial element of Australian Indigenous cultures. It is also a precious gift for all of us, and for the protection and care of nature.
26 January each year is, however, a day of great sadness for many First Nations people. While there are many reasons to celebrate what makes us a great nation, this significant day fails to address the fact that this land was stolen from the original custodians.
There is still debate about a treaty with First Nations people in Australia, while every other Commonwealth country has moved forward to heal, to listen and to walk with our Indigenous sisters and brothers.
At ACF we acknowledge this great sadness and the hurt. We also recognise and support the many inspiring ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait people are proudly creating their future.
Seed is Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate justice network, building up the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to protect country, culture and communities from the causes and impacts of climate change.
Through training programs and bold campaigns like “Protect Country”, “Land rights not mining rights” and “Don’t frack the Northern Territory”, Seed has grown quickly into a powerful network with hundreds of young volunteers across the country.
Seed began as a semi-autonomous branch of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) back in 2014. But now, in exciting news, Seed is transitioning away from the AYCC to become its own independent organisation. This allows Seed to be led by First Nations people in all that they do!
We invite you to join us in supporting Seed to achieve their vision of self-determination.
ACF donates to Seed and, if you are in a position to do so, we encourage you to also donate to their climate justice fund and assist Seed to step out as a fully independent organisation.
Not in a position to donate, or already donated and want more ways to take action? There are many non-financial ways to pitch in! Have a read of Seed’s handy list for 10 ideas on ways to take action – like supporting Aboriginal communities against Origin’s gas fracking in the Northern Territory; calling on Australian Parliamentarians to protect Torres Strait Islanders’ rights to their Island homes; speaking with your friends and family about the importance of First Nations led movements for justice.
At ACF we recognise that respect and support of First Nations people is vital to caring for this beautiful living planet.
In this spirit, at last year’s Annual General Meeting our members approved this statement encompassing the connection between ACF’s mission to protect climate and nature, and self-determination for First Nations people:
"The Australian Conservation Foundation acknowledges that First Nations Peoples of Australia hold unique knowledge and rights inherited from their ancestors and Country and have cared for this country since time immemorial. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded, and that colonisation was unjust, often violent and continues to adversely impact on First Nations Peoples today. As Australia’s national environment organisation, we understand we have a responsibility to help right this historical wrong.
We pay our respect to First Nations Peoples of Australia, past, present and future. We respect their leadership in caring for Country and support their rights to continue to do so. We support their authority to speak for Country, right to self-determination and recognise that rightful recognition of and genuine reconciliation with First Nations Peoples is fundamental to protecting nature in Australia.”
We thank you – for listening, learning, and taking action with us in support of Seed and First Nations justice.
Photo: Seed Mob