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The “Uncles” climate case that could change EVERYTHING

Truly, this is big, significant and really really cool and you need to know about it

There is a very everything-changing landmark case about to go before an Australian court. This interview with Isabelle Reinecke, the founder and executive director of the Grata Fund, explains how it will go, but I’ll also add some extra data points below. I think some people would be relieved to know that organisations like Grata Fund exist to fight these kind of causes. Isabelle’s work is incredible and I know a bunch of women on her board and who donate. I’d encourage you to do the same - especially blokes! We need the blokes!

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What is the Australian Climate Case?

Two uncles from the Torres Strait, Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul (they are both Guda Maluyligal Traditional Owners and Native Title rights holders from the islands of Boigu and Saibai) are arguing that by failing to prevent climate change, the Australian Federal Government is negligent and has unlawfully breached their duty of care to the Torres Strait community.

✌️ It could force the Australian Government to actually stick to its climate commitments. Seriously!✌️

Australia’s response to climate change is one of the weakest in the world. If the Federal government doesn’t change course – and fast – then islands in the Torres Strait will go underwater.

It’s the first time that anyone in Australia has asked the Court to make a binding order that the whole Federal government reduce emissions in line with the science. Bam!

The two uncles, photographed by Good Weekend

You can read a good overview of the case in this Good Weekend cover story.

Why it’s so big and important… and international

There is a lot of international attention on the case - because it has global ramifications, obviously (we share the atmosphere!). It’s being supported by a team who led one of the world’s most successful climate test cases in history, the Urgenda case in the Netherlands, which used the law as a tool to achieve big action on climate change.

Here’s some information on the Older Swiss Women case that just happened last week, that Isabelle and I reference. It saw a group of elderly women argue their government put them at risk of dying during heatwaves that were caused by climate inaction, and that the risk to their health was exacerbated by their age and gender. The verdict, which cannot be appealed, was delivered by a 17-judge panel in Strasbourg.

A win in The Uncles case could force the Australian government to reduce emissions in line with the “best available science” — which is a 75% emissions cut this decade.

✌️A win would be used to stop new fossil fuel projects being approved by the Government✌️

And of course Australia is a major coal, gas, oil exporter to the rest of the world.

It will continue this highly successful movement, which, frankly, seems to be the only movement getting results at the moment.

What we can do!

What I love most about this case is that a) it might just work b) it is a gift to us all, including a government that claims to want to reduce emissions but is, seemingly, hamstrung by the interests of Big Oil, and c) we can be involved and make some difference.

But we have to all act now. Like in the next few weeks. The final hearings ahead of the Court making its decision run 29 April-3 May. It needs media attention. Our attention.

It’s a simple matter of following the case on Instagram and in the news and spreading the word however you can. Talk to people about it - make noise! Read the Good Weekend feature, etc.

Let the Islanders know we are watching and we care. This is the best thing we can do in a world that continues to polarise us away from each other’s more life- loving solutions.

You can get involved further by signing the pledge, sharing your evidence and so on. I have. I felt quite emotional doing it. Maybe it’s relief - knowing someone is doing something!!!

Click here for all this

Stay wild, stay activist!

Sarah xx