2022 JurorNatalie Kyriacou

Climate Change: We Have a Moral Duty to Protect our Planet

Climate change is a threat multiplier; it intersects with other factors to aggravate vulnerabilities that populations face.


Natalie Kyriacou is a multiple award-winning social entrepreneur, CEO, Board Advisor, public speaker, writer, and Environmental and Social Impact leader with years invested in driving social change.

As a globally revered leader in the environmental and social impact spaces, Kyriacou’s passion and expertise lie in exploring the intersection of environmental and social equity issues which has earned her the Medal of the Order of Australia and the Forbes 30 Under 30 honour for her services to wildlife and environmental conservation in 2018.

Kyriacou was also a United Nations Environment Programme Young Champion of the Earth Finalist, and, in 2022, she was recognised as one of The Australian’s ‘Top Innovators’ in recognition of her environmental and social impact.

This year’s The NGO IFF’s theme ‘Climate Change, Conflict & Covid’ centres on issues that, by virtue of your work, you help provide solutions to. Can you share your thoughts on how the theme resonates with you?

“This year’s theme represents the defining issues of our era and also highlights the complex relationship between climate change, conflict and many other risks. Climate change is a threat multiplier; it intersects with other factors to aggravate vulnerabilities that populations face.”

“The submissions to the Festival this year illustrate the inextricable links between Climate change, Conflict and Covid and showcase the varied and intensified effects they have on different populations.”

It’s impressive the amount of work you have put in over the years. What has been your driving force?

“I believe we have a moral duty to protect the planet. Peter Singer draws on this concept
comprehensively. If I am living comfortably while species are going extinct at unparalleled rates and while climate change ravages populations, and I am doing nothing about it, then there is something wrong with my behaviour.”

“I am driven by both a moral duty, an endless curiosity of the natural world, and a desire to live a life that, overall, contributes more good than harm. I don’t get it right a lot of the time, but I try.”

What sparked your desire to explore environmentalism in spite of your degree in journalism?

“I have a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in International Relations. My studies reflected my interest in learning more about the greatest challenges facing our world. At the time, I thought journalism would be the best way for me to help showcase environmental crises.”

“However, while studying, I launched an environmental organisation and my career took me in another direction. Though I still try to draw on the power of journalism and communication to enhance environmental outcomes through my work.”

This year, the festival recorded an unprecedented 2,071 submissions. With this in mind, how do you foresee the festival in the coming years?

“And what an incredible response it was! I imagine this is just the very beginning. There are so many more stories around the world that we haven’t heard and I expect many more to come. This festival is going to be shining a light on the stories and creative genius of so many diverse storytellers in an incredibly powerful way.”