The environmental work of Indigenous rangers on remote islands off north east Arnhem Land has been given the spotlight at the Darwin premiere of an international climate change documentary.

Vast stretches of coral bleaching were discovered in the Crocodile Islands region for the first time this year and the Indigenous rangers have been monitoring the changes ever since.

They are hoping scientists will come to the area to further investigate the cause.

Their work caught the interest of the European Union climate diplomacy group that hosted the event, which highlighted the use of local initiatives in climate change solutions.

Traditional owner and ranger Leonard Bowaynu travelled more than 500 kilometres from Milingimbi to speak at the event and meet members of the EU group.

He has lived in the Maringa clan area all his life, as have generations before him for thousands of years.

Traditional owner and ranger Leonard Bowaynu from Milingimbi, NT.
Traditional owner and ranger Leonard Bowaynu from Milingimbi, NT.

EU delegate and Belgian Ambassador to Australia Jean-Luc Bodson said promoting the work of the rangers was important because it was a good example of how local people could make an impact.

“I think it’s an example for us of what can be done and how local monitoring can be done by people who are not necessarily connected to the global forum and the international diplomacy,” Mr Bodson said.

The rangers’ program coordinator, Simone McMonigal, said Indigenous ranger groups were an invaluable environmental resource to Australia.

“I don’t think you can get that knowledge and experience and connection to country, and even care for country any other way,” Ms McMonigal said.

She said their work was a unique example of people living on country, and caring for their environment in a way that was directly tied to their culture.

“It’s such an important part of their lives and culture, and so important that they can continue to look after their country and share what’s happening in their communities with the rest of the world,” she said.

Ms McMonigal said the rangers were working to spread awareness about climate change and its potential impacts within their own community.

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