Rise for Pacific Pawa!

Rise for Pacific Pawa!

Photo Credit: Facebook/350 Pacific
Story by Mary Harm

The Pacific Islands contribute to climate change the least, and yet are affected most. Increasing plastic pollution, fossil fuel emissions and other unsustainable practices not only threaten the region’s resources but also the longevity and authenticity of Pacific culture.

The many traditions that make the Pacific culture unique derive from the land and the sea – traditional art forms, attire, cultural ceremonies, natural remedies and sustainable ways of living are so connected to the land in which they belong to.

A brave group of young Pacific leaders known as the Pacific Climate Warriors (PCW) are changing tides across the globe by educating people about the affects of climate change, why the Pacific matters and why actions to save the planet require urgency.

The rise of the PCW began in 2014 on the shores of the world’s biggest coal port in Newcastle, Australia. Enriched by the support of hundreds of Australians, 30 Warriors representing 12 Pacific nations paddled out in hand-made canoes blocking 10 coal ships.

Watch the PCW in action  from the 2014 protests below.

University student and active member of the 350 Pacific Brisbane team Tapenaga Junior Reupena said his love for Pacific culture is what led him to become an advocate for climate change and the work of the 350 Pacific Climate Warriors.

“I always think about the future of our people and how future generations of Pacific Islanders will grow up with a part of their identity robbed of them,” he said.

He urges others, especially the youth, to have courage and educate those who remain in the dark.

All this may seem like a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

“In the city streets, town squares and capital buildings across the world, people will rise up to demand change,” Mr Reupena said.

Photo credit:  Instagram of / @iamrobati 

Fierce in their pursuit of a fossil free world, The Pacific Climate Warriors prepare for their next brave movement on September 8, 2018 – Rise for Pacific Pawa.

Moega Wright, one of the faces behind the Brisbane action requests that everyone, not just those of the Pacific, to take action.

“I always had the mentality that climate change didn’t really affect me personally,” Ms Wright said.

“It wasn’t until I saw the social media posts of the Pacific Climate Warriors that I saw the true affects of climate change…. The Pacific community is small in comparison to the rest of the world, but our hearts are big and so is our culture.

Climate change affects everyone… If not you, who?

Be part of the movement and find an event that’s happening near you by clicking HERE

In memory of Koreti Tiumalu – a dedicated warrior and fearless spiritual leader. Thank you for speaking truth to power and foregrounding indigenous voices. Read more on Koreti’s impact HERE

Photo Credit: Facebook/350 Pacific

Anisha Mistry

As the Editor of CulturalPulse, Anisha is passionate about listening to, writing and sharing stories of Australia's multicultural achievement. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: [email protected]