Indigenous Voices from Australia and the Pacific on the Climate Crisis
September 28, Thursday 6-7pm ET
- Kevin Aipopo, 350.Org, Samoa/USA
- Pastor Ray Minnicecon, Scarred Trees Ministries, Australia
- Willy Missack, Founder and Executive Director, Learn to Serve Vanuatu & Secretariat Advisor, Vanuatu Climate Action Network
- Safaira Baba Tagivuni, Executive Director, Grace Trifam Ministry, Fiji
Kevin Lionga Aipopo (all pronouns) is a community advocate, storyteller, and student leader based in traditional Kalupuya, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, and Atfalati lands (Beaverton, Oregon). Their work centers around the intersections between their ethnic identity as a Black American and Samoan person and their gender fluidity. Kevin uses their platforms to interrogate systems of power, challenge normalcy, and uplift voices within their communities. Through interpersonal connection, community organizing, poetry, and education, they have found space as an emerging voice for Black, Indigenous, Queer, Trans, and Climate liberation”.
Ray Minniecon is a descendant of the Kabi Kabi nation, the Gureng Gureng nation of South-East Queensland, and a descendant of the South Sea Islander people with deep and abiding connections to the people of Ambrym Island, Vanuatu. Ray is a pastor, educator, community facilitator and Bible teacher who has held multiple leadership roles among Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Known by people across Australia as “Pastor Ray”, he has worked for more than forty years to develop Indigenous ministries and advocate for Indigenous peoples in Australia and worldwide. Together with his wife Sharon, Ray leads the Scarred Tree Indigenous Ministries at St John’s Anglican Church in Glebe, Sydney. Ray has founded and worked with multiple community organizations that serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: he is Director of Bunji Consultancies, which provides strategic analysis, advice, and services to improve achievement of environmental and organizational developmental goals; he is a founding member of two corporations dedicated to supporting members of the Stolen Generations (Aboriginal children who were removed under government policies) – the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, and the Bomaderry Aboriginal Children’s Home. He is a founding member of the Coloured Digger Project (which seeks to give recognition to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who contributed to the defense of Australia) and the private Gawura Aboriginal Christian School. He is also a founding member and Board member of Red Dust Role Models which builds educational opportunities for youth in the Northern Territory. He is Co-Chair of Australia’s Indigenous Peoples Organizations that advocates for human rights and climate justice issues among the world’s Indigenous Peoples. He is currently Community Chaplain and Vice-Chairman for the Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship of Australia, which operates nationally across Australia to support Aboriginal Christian leaders and local First Nations Church fellowships. Ray is a musician and song writer. Ray has a BA in Theology. Dip.in Christian Ministry. Grad. Dip. Theology. Dr of Divinity (Hon).
Willy Missack is Ph.D. Candidate at the Victoria University of Wellington, Secretariat Adviser, Vanuatu Climate Action Network and Founder & Executive Director, Learn to Serve Vanuatu. Willy Missack is currently working together with the Vanuatu Climate Action Network and the Climate Advisor and Negotiator of the Vanuatu government at the UNFCCC on Loss and Damage thematic area. And recently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Victoria University of Wellington. Missack is also the Founder and Executive Director of Learn to Serve Vanuatu, a community-based organization that is working on Ecosystem Restoration and Sustainable Land Management project, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project, Climate Justice project, to contribute to the community building process at the community level. Missack was the Pacific Climate Change Collaboration, Influencing and Learning (PACCCIL) project manager and the Vanuatu Climate Action Network (VCAN) and Vanuatu Humanitarian Team (VHT) Coordinator at Oxfam in Vanuatu. Missack has a Master’s degree in Environment Science from the University of New Caledonia and he is a Baha’i Youth and serve currently as the Local Spiritual Assembly member of the Baha’is of Ifira community, as well as the Assistant Auxiliary Board member to support the youth movement on Efate Island and serves as the National Institute Board member of the Baha’is of Vanuatu. In 2015 Missack was awarded as one of the first ever Queen Young Leaders from Her Majesty Elizabeth II on the work he is doing in the communities in his home Island (Tanna), to support the communities to have access to clean drinking water.
Safaira Baba Tagivuni, Executive Director, Grace Trifam Ministry, which is a Faith based/Community Service NGO. It has been in existence for the last two decades and was co-founded with her husband Sele Tagivuni. She is also the General Secretary of the Lau Provincial Womens’ Association known as the Soqosoqo Vakamarama ni Yasana ko Lau covering 16 islands of 13 Districts. Safaira Baba Tagivuni is an active member of the Seventh Day Adventists Dorcas Welfare Societies, Of the six operation pillars, Environment Stewardship is one of the core pillars which she has actively championed throughout Fiji and the Pacific for the last two decades.
ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL interviews and dialogues are ongoing programs produced by the Temple of Understanding, incorporating our outreach in the area of environmental awareness and advocacy. We present a diverse range of perspectives, from scientific to spiritual views, on the climate emergency and offer a variety of solutions that we can all do easily and effectively in our everyday lives. World religious and spiritual visionaries, Indigenous leaders, scientists and social scientists, environmental activists, artists, musicians and writers, youth and elders, local and global people, all come together to address the urgency of the climate crisis through these ongoing interviews and dialogues.
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