First Person: Torres Strait Islanders Fighting Loss of Their Ancestor Home |


Australia’s autonomous region of the Torres Strait Islands is particularly vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis, and extreme weather, including storms, sea level rise and erosion, poses major threats to the indigenous peoples of the island. about 70,000 years.

During the course of the case, Molby and his fellow activists were recognized as human rights leaders for their efforts to bring attention to the plight of the community.

“I come from Masik Island in the middle of the Torres Strait, between Papua New Guinea and the edge of Queensland.

There is something powerful about this teardrop-shaped island. There is an aura that draws people to this place that has protected us for thousands of years.

Through this earth, I am connected with the birds, the sky and the plants that surround us. I am part of insects, mammals and marine life and they are part of me.

We have learned to live in harmony with nature in such a way that it protects and preserves us, our culture and our traditions.


Yessie Mosby, one of Torres Strait 8 climate activists

Yessie Mosby, one of Torres Strait 8 climate activists, © Mary Harm

The right to protection from climate change

“We have the right to practice and pass on our traditions and culture, and we have the right to pass on to our parents, grandparents and ancestors.

We have the right to pass on that ancient knowledge to the next generation.

We’ve been through it all. It was the first case of chickenpox, the first common flu that nearly wiped us out, and World War II. But we survived.

Australia has a duty to care for all Australians and we have the right to remain on our island.

refugees in our country

Torres Strait No. 8 comes from another island, but we all have the same passion to protect what belongs to us for our future.

Otherwise we would have no land to call home. We will become refugees in our homeland. My children will have to relocate because the government will definitely kick us out of their homes.

So we said no. we don’t move What is here is ours.


Yesh Mosby, one of eight climate activists in Torres Strait, speaks at the Sydney Biennale.

© Carl Bowro

Yesh Mosby, one of eight climate activists in Torres Strait, speaks at the Sydney Biennale.

loved ones washed away

There was a beach here in Masig, 30-50 meters from the sea. There were villages all over the southeast coast.

The children’s laughter was heard while the mothers were weaving the mats. Men will walk over reefs in search of food. It was a leisurely life, but a happy and safe life.

After that, we began to lose land at sea, and the remains of our loved ones were washed away.

This affects us mentally, physically and spiritually.

marine life escape

We had a lot of birds on this island.

Black and white pelicans, black and white booby birds, and more.

They no longer nest here. This is a sign that something is definitely not right.

We used the lagoon which is rich in seafood. At low tide, women could easily fish in the lagoon, their children learned to swim with their older brothers and sisters, and their grandmothers looked after the little ones.

now. It is a desert. The lagoon is gone, full of sand and lifeless.


Masik Island in Torres Strait

© 350 Australia

Masik Island in Torres Strait

danger in the depths

It’s getting harder and harder to make a living. Masig’s main income is crawfish. Now all men have to go further and spend more on fuel.

It is always dangerous to go further and the husband and son’s family there fear them.

There are dangerous things at sea, but the scariest thing is when the weather changes. Are you wondering if you can go home?”


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The full audio interview can be heard here.



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Author: bm4ey

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