“We must change our practices of ignorance and neglect”
The PSA proudly supported the School Strike for Climate in September. For some of our Pasefika members the effects of climate change are already hitting home. They tell us why they took part in the rally on Parliament.
A SOUTH PACIFIC ISLANDER’S PERSPECTIVE
Tania Siwatibau – Ministry of Health delegate, Pasefika Network Eco Rep
Most of my younger years were spent in the South Pacific islands.
I was born in Fiji, lived in Vanuatu and visited Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. These islands will always have a special place in my heart, so it is sad to see the plight they face as a result of climate change.
With rising sea levels and temperatures, comes the disappearance of settlements in low lying coastal areas as well as more frequent devastating tropical storms.
Being displaced from coastal areas means a loss of livelihood as many rely on fishing for earnings and sustenance. It also means they lose the land they own. No food, no money, no land.
More storms cause more frequent damage to livelihoods, homes and infrastructure.
Climate change is very real and damaging to Pacific Islanders. It will leave them with no home, no earnings, and loss of identity, self-determination and self-esteem as they are made to be more dependent on others.
HOPE FOR MY ANCESTRAL LANDS
Nia Bartley, Capital & Coast DHB delegate, Women’s Network Eco Rep
Being a born and bred Kiwi, heading to the beach during summer was the norm. The glistening moana beckoning us to enjoy the soothing, salty water, with its provisions of kaimoana a bonus.
The reality is this very sea water, because of the climate change crisis, has caused havoc to the islands of my ancestors throughout the Pacific especially low-lying islands Tokelau, Tuvalu and Uvea. For decades our people have stated global warming was an issue. Dismissed and ignored by big corporations and bigger nations that thought it was all hype.
Now people are waking up to the sad reality that the world is changing and has changed. Sea life is dying because the waters are too warm.
Many peoples will be displaced because their homes, their fenua if not already, will disappear. Pacific cultures and their beautiful way of life changed forever.
Collectively, we must change our practices of ignorance and neglect and save our planet before it is too late.