I’m a little emotional this morning – you know that feeling where you know a good cry would just do the trick. I choose to write about it because this, if anything, will give you an insight into what drives me and why I choose to work with the things I do.
This morning my colleague and friend presented her confirmation seminar for her PhD. For those outside of university world, it is a seminar we have to present in the first year of our PhD, demonstrating to the academic community that we have a decent plan for our research. And boy did she have a plan! she was awesome! Inspiring, wonderful and just plain fantastic. She is a Torres Strait Islander woman and her research investigates the experience of Torres Strait Islanders who are forced to migrate to mainland Australia, because their islands are disappearing into the ocean – because of climate change. These are people who are already struggling, living in remote communities, with poor access to healthcare, education and justice facilities. People who are not allowed to own their own land, but are forced to rent from a government who does not provide them with basic facilities such as clean water and sewage, a government who has rejected giving them funding to build adequate walls to protect them from king tides (did you know that by the way? That most TSI and Aboriginal people cannot become homeowners because the land is owned by government?).
It was powerful. I am so moved to have witnessed this strong islander woman talk about her home, the situation of her people and how her research will investigate the options of assisting her people – easing their integration into a society they are forced to become a part of. The strength of her, the strength of her people and her culture.
I become so emotional, I get so angry and I feel such a horrible sorrow for what we are doing to each other in this world. How we kick the people who are already on the floor and offer little assistance when they try to get up. This is what drives my research. This is what makes it worthwhile for me to sit in my little office, writing about (the lack of) justice for Aboriginal people across the world. I know I have a small voice in a large sea of indifference, but this is all I can do. Because I cannot not do it. And now I will take a box of tissues to the toilet and get it over with. Thank you for listening.
If you want to read more about the effects of climate change and the TSI, here are some articles for you: