Talanoa Spirit: We are not Drowning, We are Fighting!

COP23 is hosted by the Fiji island nation, which urges the world for immediate action. During the third day of the Pacific COP, an event was held by the Pacific Island Warriors from the 350.org Pacific program at the beautiful Talanoa Space in Bonn Zone. The event was specifically made to inform and educate the public on the actions and situation of the Pacific Island.

Blessing ceremony by the Pacific Islanders

President Bainiramara, the leader of Fiji,  said that “The scientists are now telling us that  with the disappearance of the summer ice around the North Pole, and the eventual melting of the Arctic and Greenland, the global average sea rise would be a terrifying seven meters,”. This is why the slogan of the Pacific Island Warriors can be attributed to the  “We are not Drowning, We are Fighting!” symbols.

The event started with a blessing ceremony based on the Christian beliefs. It was a heartwarming moment as they asked for God’s blessings to preserve the Pacific Island culture, heritage, land and their beliefs from the likes of climate change 

Next came the sharing session from various Pacific Island nations such as Tokelau,Tonga, Marshall Islands, Fiji etc. All of the sharing sessions gave us the idea of how they are desperately needing negotiations to ensure that Parties to the Paris Agreement hold to their promise in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. Here are a few Islander stories to share with:

Tokelau is the first Nation to use 100% renewable energy by 2014. With the population of less than 2000 residents, they have shifted towards using solar panels as a source of electrical energy. They are proud of it and hope that other countries can also take the initiative.

The people from Marshall Islands shared how they will stay rooted to their culture regardless of the changing times. They stress that indigenous people require knowledge on climate change. While the island nation of Fiji shared on how they have experienced the worst cyclone to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere, cyclone Winston was a category 5 cyclone that struck the Pacific Island in 2016 that caused major destruction along its path. And it is no doubt that climate change has played a major role in contributing to this abnormal disaster.

The Pacific Island Nations came together in solidarity to travel over 15,000 km to Bonn Germany to fight climate change and ensure that Parties to the Paris Agreement hold on to their promise to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees

The way how Fiji islands took the world stage and hosted COP23, communicating to the world of a large message how we the people, we the world, need to stand in solidarity with these beautiful people to get ourselves together and not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Emphasis on the later.

To support their work and be part of the Pacific Climate Warriors you can help them fight climate change by signing their declaration at www.haveyoursei.org.  “We are not drowning, We are Fighting!”

“We cannot build a Pacific Climate Movement without engaging our faith communities. Faith is pivotal to our people, and like the ocean, it connects us. In the face of the climate crisis, we need prayer to carry our people and faith to build resilience.”

– Koreti Tiumalu, 350.org Pacific Coordinator

Written by Azam

Edited by Varun & Emily

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