Climate stories

I've been living here on this island for 20+ years. In that time, I have seen a lot of changes. Back when I was a kid, life on Boigu was not too bad. But in the last ten years, the inundation and king ties have really affected how we live here on the island.

Benny’s story

Boigu Island, QLD

  • Culture
  • Health
  • Sea level rise

My name is Benny Dau. My clan is Samu and I’m a local resident of Boigu. I have been living here now for the past 20+ years, and I would love to live the rest of my life here and hopefully my kids can live their natural lives here too.

I would say back 30 years ago, this was all just soft sand. It was really, really, really rich in soil. Ever since, climate change has been happening. It’s changed over the course of the years and today this is what we’re left with. So you can’t really plant there anymore. It’s the salt. It’s from the king tides that come in and the soil gets contaminated. 

It’s no longer an option for us to plant here. Whereas, back in the sixties, there was rich soil all through here. This was all rich soil – my parents used to plant tarots and vegetables in their garden. There was so much more food growing on the island.

There were various sources of food back then. My mom used to say that the only source of food that would come from the mainland would be the tinned food and soft drinks. There weren’t any chips or chocolates back in those days. It was just mainly tinned food. It was only that back in the day because there were so many fruit and vegetable gardens growing along here. We had a lot of watermelons, almond trees, coconut trees, and mango trees. This was all before, back in the 1960s leading up to the early 2000s.

As a young boy growing up, I remember our parents sent us to muster up the dogs and patrol all the fruit. We had bush turkeys that would come and dig up our cassavas and we’d have to chase them off the gardens so they wouldn’t eat our food. That was my childhood. 

We did have a drought at one stage here. It was very hot. Very humid. We almost lost our water supplies due to the drought, to the heat of the drought. But other than that, our biggest issues have always been with the king tides.

I’m standing on solid ground right now. But when there is a king tide, there would be water probably up to my knees. Maybe between the knee and the waist.You always get water all the way between the knee and the waist. That’s so hard. This area will all be inundated with water when the king tide hits here, usually around Christmas or New Years and sometimes until Easter.

Some houses get flooded by the water. Certain houses are always flooded and usually have water running underneath the house. It’s really, really, really bad. It’s not a pretty sight to see when the king tides are in. And it brings a lot of mud and damage to the road. 

When the town floods, the water brings all the mud from the flats to the waterfront. And when the water finally recedes, all the mud stays in the town and at the waterfront and it’s our job as council workers to scrape out all the mud afterwards. The mud is bad for our health and it smells bad. 

Our kids often play in the waters and they don’t realize that they’re actually running on top of the mud. And then they’ll get infections on their legs, with sores. They get really bad rashes. And it’s really bad for our elders to be walking along the roads because they can slip in the mud. Our elders can’t walk on the roads and they have to wait until the road gets cleaned up before they can start walking around again. It’s terrible. 

I’ve been living here on this island for 20+ years. In that time, I have seen a lot of changes. Back when I was a kid, life on Boigu was not too bad. But in the last ten years, the inundation and king ties have really affected how we live here on the island.

It has had a major impact in the way we live now. Now rely more on the store, whereas back before the 2000s we had fresh gardens. But nowadays we have to depend on the store to provide for us. 

I think the government has a duty of care to us. I would love to see the government come up here and see how we live. I want them to see all the changes that have happened to our island.  Not only for myself but for my kids and my kids’ kids and our future generations to come.

I believe that if the government sees how we live up here, maybe they can do something about it and save what little we have left of our precious island. 

Climate change is harming us all

Hundreds of people from across the country are sharing their stories to send a clear message to the Australian government - it's time for real action on climate change.

Every story appears as a point on this map. Click around to read how climate change is affecting our communities, and add your own story to the map.

Alice's story

Sydney, NSW

  • Fire
  • Health
  • Heatwave

Evacuating during the bushfires and walking through dense smoke in front of a car with a flashlight to stay on the road is a scary memory, but one I feel will be repeated.

Bushfires. Floods. Heatwaves. Disease.

People all across Australia are being harmed by climate change. These are some of their stories.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.

We're reviewing your story now. As soon as it's up on the website we'll send you an email to let you know. We need as many people as possible to share their climate stories - so we can show the government that Australians need urgent climate action. Will you spread the word by sharing this campaign on social media?

Share on Instagram Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Share your climate story

Will you stand with us and share your story of how climate change is affecting you, your family and your community?

It doesn't matter how big or small the impact you've felt - everyone's story is important.

Together we can show the government that taking real climate action is in everyone’s interest.