We acknowledge that Australia and the world is facing an unprecedented climate emergency. We must all act urgently to reduce global temperatures to a safe level and ensure a just and fair future for all.
Why an acknowledgement of the climate emergency?
It is essential that all decision-making made in every area of society must take the scientific consensus on global warming into account, if we are to limit the effects of climate change. In much the same way as the Welcome to/ Acknowledgement of Country centres us and reminds us of the long and important history of the first Australians, the Acknowledgement of Climate Emergency reminds us of the importance of prudent decision-making for the future of all Australians.
When was the Acknowledgment created?
During attendance at the 2020 National Climate Emergency Summit, Tandem’s director Rachel Brdanovic was struck by the effect that reiteration of the known facts around global warming and climate change had on a conference full of people who were already aware of and beginning to act on these facts. She says “Even though everyone there already knew the facts and potential impacts, hearing them presented all together seemed to sharpen people’s focus and create a greater sense of urgency and purpose”. She figured that if it were possible to reflect on the latest data when commencing, for example, the meetings of a council’s climate emergency working group, that group would be encouraged to make better decisions that truly lead towards reducing emissions. Realising that it’s not really practical for every organisation to assume responsibility for gathering new facts on such a regular basis, and influenced by the inaugural reading of the Safe Climate Declaration at the end of the Summit, she instead thought that a formal acknowledgement would serve a similar purpose.
Doesn’t this acknowledgement detract from the Welcome to/Acknowledgement of Country?
Australia’s first peoples are recognised through the Welcome/Acknowledgement as the traditional custodians of this land. The Acknowledgement of Climate Emergency builds on this to reflect that we are all the current custodians of the land and must act urgently to maintain it for ourselves and future generations. In this way, instead of detracting from the first peoples, it instead further acknowledges and supports their role in caring for our country.
When should the Acknowledgement be used?
Much like the Welcome to/Acknowledgement of Country, this Acknowledgement could be used at the start of any meeting, speech or presentation to any group of people. The recommended full combined Acknowledgement of Country and Climate Emergency could be presented like this:
We acknowledge this land that we meet on today is the traditional lands for the xx people and that we respect their spiritual relationship with their country.
We also acknowledge the xx people as the custodians of the xx region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living xx people today.
We also pay respects to the cultural authority of Aboriginal people visiting/attending from other areas of Australia.
And as we should all consider ourselves custodians of the land alongside the first Australians, we would also like to acknowledge that Australia and the world is facing an unprecedented climate emergency. We must all act urgently to reduce global temperatures to a safe level and ensure a just and fair future for all.