“What a year” Cooktown’s Larissa Hale captioned her Facebook post as she flew out of Australia headed to speak alongside Prince William, Bill Gates and the Director General of the World Trade Organisation at the Earthshot Innovation Summit in New York.
Despite hating the limelight, the Cooktown ranger coordinator has bravely led the way for Indigenous women rangers, creating a network to connect, mentor and encourage them which won the £1 million Earthshot Prize in 2022.
Ms Hale vowed to use the money to take the women’s ranger network global, a goal she had set firmly in her sights as she rubbed shoulders with world leaders and changemakers at the New York summit.
“It has been such an honour to be in New York for the Summit and to meet the new 2023 cohort of 15 finalists for the Earthshot Prize,” Ms Hale said.
“It’s fantastic to see fellow Australians Seaforest as finalists for the Fix Our Climate category.”
She said her week in the Big Apple had been a whirlwind of big names, big ideas and plenty of inspiration.
“It’s pretty surreal sitting in a room and having dinner and sharing thoughts with Jacinda Ardern, Prince William, Prince Albert of Monaco, Mike Bloomberg, Caroline Kennedy, Patty Harris, Bill Gates and many more global leaders and changemakers,” she said.
“I was on a panel moderated by Jacinda Ardern, and met James Larson, the UN Ambassador for Australia and Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy.”
The Summit, held during Climate Week, aims to accelerate the investments needed to scale the solutions developed by Ms Hale and the other Earthshot Prize winners and finalists.
Ms Hale also attended the Earthshot Fellowship Retreat in the UK in January for a week of coaching, networking and collaboration to help further the women’s ranger network’s global goals.
Ms Hale said the global platform and prizemoney were a game changer.
“We’re going to create a global opportunity for First Nations female-led conservation programs, a network for women coming together to help repair the planet,” she said.
“With hope and with positive actions we can be hopeful for the future of our seas.”