This year thanks to a generous donation, the Women Taking Climate Action award recognises two women whose climate actions contribute towards climate change innovation and engage with women: Alana Mountain and Dr Anne Poelina.
Both women share a strong connection to ‘caring for country’ – the essence of and reason for caring for climate action. Both are excellent role models, emphasise advocacy, community education and add a high level of scientific and academic understanding to their work.
Alana Mountain, from Victoria, is the Campaign Coordinator of the Forest Collective. With her award we can celebrate and acknowledge 10 years of determination and dedication to protect the beautiful flora and fauna of the Central Highlands of Victoria. Her efforts have helped culminate in the decision by the Victorian government to end the logging of native forests by 1st January 2024; a decision that will help protect the densest carbon-rich plant on earth – Mountain Ash.
Alana has encouraged women to become tree climbers, an activity that was largely considered male. This supported the collection of data to show the effects of logging on native wildlife – particularly the endangered Greater Glider. This research was used in a legal case to show successfully that the logging industry had not been taking the necessary studies and steps to protect the Greater Glider. This legal decision managed to ultimately shut down the logging of native forests in Victoria due to the legal, economic, and political ramifications of the decision.
Alana was a guest speaker at the District 23 Think Tank meeting in December 2021.
‘I acknowledge First Nations Justice, gender equality and environmentalism as the basis of my work. I believe in connecting people back to the land to protect and conserve it for future generations. I strive for a healthier planet for all inhabitants.’Alana Mountain
Dr Anne Poelina
Dr/Professor Anne Poelina is a Nyikina Warrwa woman from the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. She is a community leader, human and Earth rights advocate. She is linked to the land and water of the Kimberley Region and has for many years helped heal country, climate, and communities in this region.
Anne is currently a Professor and Research Fellow at Notre Dame University WA, Charles Darwin University NT, and ANU. She is Chair of the Martuwarra Fitzroy Council and a member and director of the Kimberley Land Council and is involved with the Murray Darling Basin as its inaugural indigenous member on the Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Sciences.
Anne is recognised globally for her work with climate and water justice and with First Nations women – giving them opportunities to have a voice and leadership opportunities. She sees her role as protecting ‘Mother Earth’ and the importance of indigenous knowledge in being able to do this. She says that traditional women’s law is about maintaining and protecting the spirit of the country, and that is central to protecting humanity now. Anne promotes two-way science, which connects Western and indigenous knowledge.
About the award
The Women Taking Climate Action award was initiated by the Zonta Club of Melbourne-on-Yarra in 2021.
At the 2023 District 23 Conference, members agreed that from 2024, it will become a District 23 project and all District 23 Clubs will be invited to contribute towards the cost of the award which is usually $1,000.
For 2023 we have co-winners who will each receive $1,000, due to a generous ‘one-off’ donation which has enabled each winner to receive $1,000.