August 22, 2014

Standing with our Pacific Neighbours

Every morning, we wake up to the ocean our island. But now, driven by climate change it is creeping ever closer. Unless something changes, many of our Pacific Islands face losing everything to sea level rise.

For two decades we’ve urged world leaders to take action on climate change and stop polluting the atmosphere. We cannot wait longer. Now, warriors of the Pacific are rising peacefully to protect their Islands from climate change.  Our message is simple: We are not drowning. We are fighting.

A majority of our islands are dependent on subsistence agriculture, but with more intense tropical cyclones, flash floods and droughts, food production systems are increasingly vulnerable. Coastal systems and ecosystems are already adversely affected, with erosion impacting in places like the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati. Coral reefs and water resources are also now at risk, and scientists have warned that if the world doesn’t change track now, we face losing much more.

The Pacific Islands are already world leaders in looking to renewable energy – countries like Tokelau are 100% powered by solar energy. Pacific Islanders are working very hard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – however small we may be. Butmany of the countries most responsible for climate change are doing next to nothing to curb emissions. In fact, Australia has recently approved a huge expansion of its coal and gas exports at a time when we are on the edge of climate disaster. The recently federally approved Carmichael Mine not only requires dredging of the Great Barrier Reef, the destruction of over 10,000 hectares housing multiple endangered species, but alongside the other 8 proposed megamines in the Galilee Basin, will burn through 5% of the world’s carbon budget – from just one basin in Queensland alone! These exports already operate on a scale that is almost unimaginable.

So this October, we’re standing up to those blocking action on climate change. We’ve been building traditional canoes across the Islands and our Pacific Climate Warriors will journey to Australia, where we will use these canoes to peacefully lay down a challenge to the fossil fuel industry. As a symbol of the cultures and traditions that are threatened by the actions of their industry, we are brining the impacts of climate change to their doorstep. This will be a means of telling the industry, the Australian public, their Government, and the global community that climate change is having a real impact and is threatening the culture, health and environment of our Pacific Islands.

Following this, our Pacific Warriors will travel the country, bringing our story of struggle directly to the Australian people. A humble request that Australians join us in taking the fight to the fossil fuel industry and save our homelands.

We know that many Australians are ready to stand with us. As we arrive, Australians around the country will stand in solidarity because our fight is their fight too. From those fighting against the construction of new coal mines at Maules Creek and in the Galilee Basin, to those working on essential policy changes, Australians will collectively stand up to say “we will not let our Pacific neighbours drown.”

This is a huge undertaking. Building and transporting canoes, speakers and at least 30 Pacific Warriors all costs a lot. We can’t do it without you! So please join us in donating, sharing and raising awareness of our story, and help us to bring this story to Australia. Visit the crowdfunder, donate, share, engage.