Tuesday 04 August 2015 at 01:32A Fight To Survive
Dear Global Leaders,
Five years ago, I was part of an extremely amazing group of young leaders working to initiate a movement of climate warriors in the Pacific. On one such day at the gathering, my life took a turn for which I look upon for continued inspiration in my journey of constant learning.
“...if your country has some sand or soil which you are not using, can you please send some to my country... ” - Pacific Warrior (Marshall Islands)These words have been in my head for years—I’ve looked upon this teary memory and gained determination to continue going forward.
As I write you today, we no longer have any soil here in the Pacific Islands to plant crops and we face regular threats to our livelihood and safety; floods, salinity, droughts and hurricanes now make the daily struggle to survive even harder for all. As warriors fighting the battle against climate change, we ask you do not sit and negotiate away our lives, but commit to an effective, equitable agreement that ensures immediate, transformative action, and is based on the respect of human rights and gender equality.
The irrefutable data presented during the climate negotiations clearly demonstrates time is running out. At the current rate of emissions growth, we are likely to reach the tipping point of 450 ppm by 2030. Despite the overwhelming evidence, governments continue to protect the interests of large corporations and a tiny minority who are able to profit from climate change.
Please understand this not a conspiracy of global takeover by any institution, but a massacre of innocent lives paying a debt that is not theirs. I am from the Pacific and most of our islands will no longer be by the time you believe climate change is a reality. This is our home we are talking about.
Last month, I had a moment of connecting with this powerful memory again; only this time I had the courage to finally share it in an open space.
A climate convergence of multi-faith religious leaders from across the world gathered in Rome to work out ways of supporting the biggest challenge of our time. To see such great support from the religious community gave me hope for upcoming days and weeks leading up to Paris negotiations.
Today, I stand alongside thousands of global climate warriors who demand commitments and change. It is in your hands to save our people and our homes.
“We are not Drowning, We are Fighting.”
Betty Barkha, Pacific Warrior
Images via 350 Pacific. 350 Pacific recently visited Kiribati in the Pacific Islands where families are being forced to flee their homes because of rising sea water (as seen above).
Betty is a Fijian working on issues of climate change, peace & security, and gender in the Asia-Pacific region, with a special focus on strengthening grassroots resilience coping with impacts of natural disasters and climate change in the Pacific.