Students learn first hand impacts on climate change on Indigenous Communities

Published: 12/09/2011

Students from around the world will learn first hand how climate change is impacting on a range of Indigenous communities during an international virtual conference hosted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The international conference will allow students from America, Australia, Canada and Nicaragua to hold discussions with Traditional Owners from a number of countries about the potential impacts climate change will have on Indigenous culture.

Through Reef HQ’s virtual classroom students will have access to Traditional Owner groups, including the Inuit from Alaska in America, the Navajo from Arizona in America, the Miskito in Nicaragua and the Girringun and Woppaburra clans from Queensland in Australia.

Phil Rist, CEO of the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and Chairman of the Nywaigi Land Corporation and Bob Muir, a Woppaburra Elder are participating in the conference. Both said they are keen to share their perspective about the impact climate change could have on their country and are also interested in hearing from other international Traditional Owners who have similar concerns.

Bob Muir whose sea country includes the Keppel Islands said he was very interested to learn how other Traditional Owners were managing the impacts of climate change.

“A major focus of this conference is how climate change could affect the health, well being and food security of Traditional Owners in many parts of the world including Australia,” said Mr Muir.

Phil Rist whose sea country includes the waters off the coast of Ingham said that students would also learn how climate change could potentially have an impact on culture with some cultural heritage sites in danger from the impacts of climate change.

“Girringun people have reported damage to some cultural heritage sites such as fish traps which are now constantly inundated with water due to changes in the tides,’ said Mr Rist.

Traditional Owners across the world are assisting scientists and researchers to monitor the impacts of climate change on their land and sea country.

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