SPENDING EARTH DAY WITH SEED (Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network)

The truth is, we all have a responsibility for the planet, and one big part is that we're all about giving back to the environment through local non-profits that align with our values. When people come together and make small changes, the impact can be tremendous. Enter Seed; long-term friends and Australia's first and only Indigenous youth-led environmental organisation.

From Borroloola in the gulf of the Northern Territory, to mob in Tasmania, to communities across the Kimberley, and island nations throughout the Torres Strait, Seed supports young mob with the skills, confidence, networks and plans to lead our movement for climate justice. They stand shoulder to shoulder with First Nations communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction and climate impacts.

Today, more than ever is an especially good time to share awareness, positivity, and ways to do good, which is why we sat down with the team at Seed to talk more about their current projects, inspiration and making a difference.

Seed is Australia’s first and only Indigenous youth climate network. Can you tell us a bit more about how it all started and why protecting land, water, culture and climate is important for you? 

Seed first emerged as a semi-autonomous branch of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) in 2014 to address the critical role that Indigenous leadership plays in tackling the root causes of the climate crisis and ensuring climate justice. 

Our land has been dug up and destroyed ever since colonisation. Our communities are constantly battling for better housing, access to basic human services like health, education and clean drinking water. Climate change makes these issues worse. For some communities, climate change could mean the forced removal off country, yet again.

That is why the climate crisis is an issue of social and environmental justice. Too often, those who have done the least to cause the problem, are hit first and worst. From rising sea levels in the Torres Strait Islands, to droughts, heat waves and floods, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are on the frontlines of climate impacts and fossil fuel extraction.

As part of the oldest living culture in the world, we have a right and a responsibility to look after our country, as our people have done for generations. This is why young mob across the country are banding together to take action and protect our country, culture and communities from the impacts of climate change. 

Tell us a bit more about how you became involved with Seed and what is the focus of the work you do there?

At Seed, we are building up the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people standing strong to protect our country, culture and communities from the causes and impacts of climate change.

From Borroloola in the gulf of the Northern Territory, to mob in Tasmania, to communities across the Kimberley, and island nations throughout the Torres Strait, we support young mob with the skills, confidence, networks and plans to lead our movement for climate justice.

We also stand shoulder to shoulder with First Nations communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction and climate impacts, and are mobilising across the country to hold governments and big corporations accountable.

By building the power of those most affected and confronting the systemic injustices that have led to the climate crisis, we aim to build strong, sustainable and resilient communities where everyone can thrive.

Last year you made the decision to set yourself up as an independent organisation operated entirely by Indigenous youth of Australia. How important was it for Seed to become independent and why did you choose to make this step?

Since launching as a branch of the AYCC in 2014, Seed has grown from strength to strength and become established as a leading First Nations voice for climate justice.

It made sense for us to build and grow as a branch of the AYCC when we first started, but right now it’s time for us to step into the next phase of our journey in order to have the biggest impact we can in our fight for climate justice. 

First Nations organisations need First Nations leadership, which is why becoming independent is an incredibly important moment for us. Six years ago we were not in a position to build as our own organisation, but in 2021 we are excited about the huge opportunities that the future holds for Seed and are proud to be in a strong position to pave the pathway forward.

All around the world sea levels are rising, and so are First Nations people. From our relatives at the Indigenous Environmental Network and Indigenous Climate Action across the U.S and Canada, to our Pacific Climate Warrior family, we are so inspired by the strength and resilience of Indigenous communities across the world who are organising, mobilising and leading solutions to the climate crisis.

In Australia, we know Seed has the unique potential to be a powerful catalyst for change led by our communities. We play an incredibly important role in building up the next generation and advocating for the leadership of our people to build solutions for a just and sustainable future. Now is the right time to take this critical step on our journey. 

Which big projects are you currently working on during 2021? 

Aside from setting up and launching as Australia’s first and only First Nations youth led environmental nonprofit (which is an absolutely huge undertaking!), we will continue leading our powerful trainings and supporting mob to take action across the country. 

An example of one campaign that we will continue building on in 2021 is our Don’t Frack the NT campaign.   

Right now, 51% of the Northern Territory is under oil or gas exploration licences, with remote Aboriginal communities on the frontlines of this dangerous, unconventional fossil fuel extraction. If fracked, recent estimates suggest the NT’s Beetaloo and McArthur basin gas reserves could release greenhouse emissions five times that of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine, blowing our chances of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. 

For the last five years, Seed has played a leading role in supporting and organising remote Aboriginal communities who are calling for a ban on fracking. We have done so alongside organisations such as Lock The Gate, GetUp! and Original Power.  

Throughout 2021, Seed will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with communities to hold governments and big corporations accountable. We have supported communities such as Borroloola and Minyerri to declare themselves as “no-go-zones” to fracking, we have raised awareness of this issue nationally through our organising and the launch of an award-winning doco called “Water is Life”, we are leading a corporate campaign targeting Origin Energy’s plans for fracking in the NT and we will continue to do whatever it takes to protect our land, water, culture and future.

When people come together and make small changes, the impact can be tremendous. How do you think individuals can make a difference?

Each and every person has the power to make a difference. No matter your race, the colour of your skin or your age, your postcode, religion, ability or bank balance - everyone can make a difference in the fight for climate justice. And we need all hands on deck!

Sometimes getting starting can feel like a big barrier, but if you are interested in supporting First Nations young people and climate justice, here are ten quick ways that you can make a difference right now.  

  1. Donate to our Climate Justice Fund if you haven’t already!
  2. Make a post on your social media about why you’re supporting First Nations young people to lead the fight for climate justice.
  3. Tap 10 friends on the shoulder and ask them to join you in making a donation and help spread the word.
  4. Stand with Traditional Owners and remote Aboriginal communities on the frontlines of gas fracking in the Northern Territory, by signing our Open Letter calling on Origin Energy to walk away from their dangerous plans #DontFrackTheNT.
  5. Show solidarity with the #TorresStrait8 by signing the Our Islands Our Home petition and learning more about their climate justice case.
  6. Watch our short documentary called Water is Life, and consider hosting a screening as a fundraiser with your family, friends and community.
  7. Contact Origin Energy directly and tell them why you think they should walk away from their dangerous gas fracking plans in the NT - especially if you’re a customer, shareholder or staff member.
  8. Show up, and keep showing up, to First Nations led protests and calls to action - whether it’s outside Origin Energy’s office, supporting Gomeroi mob saying no to Santos, showing up for families who have loved ones have died in custody, or marching with us on Invasion Day.
  9. Have a yarn and start conversations with your friends, family and communities about why First Nations led movements for justice are so important and talk about what role you can play to take action in solidarity.
  10. Join our movement - 2021 is already a huge year of action, and regardless of whether you’re a First Nations person or not, there’s a role for everyone.

Feeling like new threads and want to do good? Shop our 1% For The Planet collection now and, if you can, leave a tip at the checkout that will go directly to Seed.

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