ABM recently helped to deliver some very personal letters, addressed to Australian parliamentarians. These were written by people in the Pacific who are worried by the dramatic changes they are seeing in their island homelands.
Here is a snapshot of what was written, and below an easy way that you can magnify these voices calling for action.
“I am Newton Ekoda, a priest in the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, who is so much overwhelmed by the effect of Climate Change and Global Warming faced by the world and more particularly by the Pacific Island nations.
I was born and raised in the Northern Coast of PNG, then moved to the Highlands 21 years ago where I am currently teaching in a Bible School. My village on the coast 50 years ago is no more there. It is now salt water like many thousands along the Northern coast.
Last year from April to December the whole nation of PNG went through drought resulting in food gardens badly devastated. In Highlands where kau kau (sweet potato) is staple food people lost just everything thus resorting to fruits, berries and nuts for survival losing [through death] some of their young and oldies in the process.
I am hereby writing to seek Australian Government’s generosity in its own policies and to advocate for Climate Justice in the Pacific.”
(Newton teaches at Kerina College, an evangelist training centre of the Anglican Church of PNG)
“Hi, my name is Tagolyn Kabekabe and I am from the most beautiful part of the Solomon Islands, Western Province. Our subsistence way of life is fast changing due to the effects and impacts of climate change.
|Repi Island in Vona Vona lagoon|
Repi Island in the middle of the Vona Vona lagoon once had a population of almost a thousand people and provided the basic services to its community such as a local primary school, a clinic, a church building for daily prayers and a network of bore holes for their daily water. All these changed more than 15 – 20 years ago when families would wake up in the mornings and find that everything in their bush kitchen on the ground had been washed away by unusual high tides in the night including their canoes, livestock and … water tanks.
The community got fed up and with no external help [and] relocated the entire community to a much bigger island… Repi Island is a ghost skeleton of an island now…
Such communities as this here in the Solomon Islands are calling on the Australian leaders to … accept the fact that internal displacement of indigenous people is real and that these people need help to determine their own future..”
(Tagolyn Kabekabe works for the Anglican Alliance in Honiara, the Solomon Islands)
“Hello, my name is Riko Mone and I am from Rarumana village in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. I grew up in the village, attend the local primary and middle school and enjoyed the rural subsistence way of life in gardening, swimming, fishing, diving and collecting shellfish from the mangroves and reefs. There was always plentiful to harvest and plentiful left for another day and plentiful to eat to ones content!
This has changed drastically in the last ten or so years and it is now very difficult to find enough shellfish to feed the family. The mangrove swamps have either dried up or too much salt water intrusion that the shellfish can no longer survive and multiply.
With the loss of an income [from selling shellfish], it affects their ability to pay for their children’s school fees, medical expenses, access to communication and many other things.
We are calling on Australian leaders as our nearest neighbours and wantoks [relatives] to… come to our islands with experts in these areas and see for yourselves the destruction, and do something that will help alleviate the problems. Thank you.”
(To read the full letters from ABM's Pacific Partners, please click here.)
ABM joined with hundreds of other Christians in Canberra several weeks ago, to deliver these powerful pleas to our parliamentarians. As a result of this Micah Australia event, over 113 politicians were met with individually, and 5 speeches delivered later in parliament, calling for greater action on Climate Justice in the Pacific. One motion was even passed on the restoration of Disaster Risk Reduction funding for the Pacific, which was a key request during this time.