From Queensland’s Wet Tropics to Copenhagen

By December 10th, 2009

CSIRO co-researcher, Nyungkalwarra woman Marilyn Wallace from the Kuku Nyungkal clan in the Wet Tropics of Queensland, has accepted an invitation to present the "Indigenous Voices on Climate Change" film festival in Copenhagen from 9 – 13 December.

Twenty-two films from around the world will show how the lives of indigenous peoples are being dramatically affected by climate change.

With the help of the United Nations University and the Christensen Fund, Marilyn has produced a DVD on the impacts of climate change on Nyungkal country (North Queensland).

Marilyn is the Executive Officer of the Bana Yarralji Bubu (BYB) Incorporated – a group of Kuku Nyungkal people working to fulfil their shared responsibility to their ancestors and future generations.

Marilyn said that the Kuku Nyungkal people are very concerned about ecological changes occurring in their traditional lands.

“Our country is transforming – food is disappearing and with it some species of native animals,” Marilyn says.

“Twenty-two films from around the world will show how the lives of indigenous peoples are being dramatically affected by climate change.”

“We are actively seeking to develop research partnerships to confirm and respond to the worrying shifts and changes we are now seeing in our traditional seasonal calendar.

“We are very keen to combine science with traditional knowledge and lore to assess, monitor, measure, and if necessary develop strategies to intervene and mitigate threats to ‘bubu’ (country) caused by climate change,” Marilyn said.

CSIRO have been working closely with Marilyn, BYB and Kuku Nyungkal people for the past two years to develop community and regional scale cultural indicators which can be used to more effectively and reliably measure and report on some of the more culturally significant changes occurring in the Kuku Nyungkal portion of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

CSIRO have supported BYB to obtain eight Nyungkal Conservation and Land Management ranger positions, under the Commonwealth Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts (DEWHA) ‘Working on Country’ Program to look after Nyungkal country. The rangers bring Aboriginal lore to the future care, protection and presentation of World Heritage-listed wet tropical forests, waterfalls, rivers, and seas.

At the request of the Rainforest Aboriginal peoples (‘Bama’) and the BYB, CSIRO and a range of other partners have been engaged in improving the way indigenous people’s culture is represented and reported on in formal reporting frameworks by combining science and the clan’s traditional knowledge.

CSIRO’s work with indigenous communities brings together modern science and indigenous people’s ecological knowledge to develop culturally appropriate employment and enterprise opportunities in natural resource management for indigenous communities in Australia.

CSIRO believes indigenous Australians have extraordinary contributions to make to the nation across cultural, economic and scientific domains. CSIRO’s Indigenous Engagement Strategy aims to achieve greater participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in CSIRO’s research and development agenda and activities.

The film festival is presented by the United Nations University from 9 – 13 December.

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