The song titled “Oceania – a Hymn for the Pacific”, features Pacific island artists. Set in a series of images from across the Pacific islands region, the song was a fitting symbol of the growing recognition of the need for collaborative partnerships and journeying together on “one vaka” – one canoe.
We in the Pacific Islands, especially small islands less than two metres above sea level, can cry all we want about the 2 degrees change and what we hope to achieve in United Nations Assembly to discuss Climate Change this week but we must accept the truth – Australia does not give a shit. Recent changes in the government and its future goals have clearly ignored all global discussions and actions and in particular, the voices of many small island countries such as Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, and Kiribatis. These countries have always looked up to Australia as the big brother.
Nick O’ Malley wrote this article for the Sydney Morning Herald, pointing out the fact that Australia has a responsibility.
Messages in support of action to combat climate change are projected onto the side of the UN building in New York on September 20, ahead of the international summit on the issue that begins on Tuesday. Photo: AP
New York: Before it became dominated by the United States’ effort to build a coalition for war with Islamic State, this week’s General Assembly of the United Nations was to have focused on climate change.
So far Australia has been as vocal about the former as it has been silent on the latter.
Speaking in the offices of his nation’s mission to the United Nations on Saturday afternoon, Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum said he and the leaders of other Pacific island nations were bewildered by what he called “backsliding” on climate change by Australia, which the region had considered to be its “big brother down south”.
“Probably one of the most frustrating events of the past year for Pacific islanders is Australia’s strange behaviour when it comes to climate change,” he said.
Island nations had watched with dismay not only the abolition of the carbon tax in Australia, but also the defunding of scientific advisory bodies, said Mr de Brum.
“It just does not make sense, it goes against the grain of the world.
“Not only [is Australia] our big brother down south, Australia is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum and Australia is a Pacific island, a big island, but a Pacific island. It must recognise that it has a responsibility.
“The problems that have befallen the smaller countries are also Australia’s problems. You cannot remove Australia from the life and blood of the Pacific.”
He said Pacific island nations no longer have time to debate climate change or even to engage in dialogue about how it might be mitigated – they need immediate action.
“[Failure to act] for us would mean disappearance under the sea by the turn of the century.”
There is but one week to go until what’s being billed as the biggest climate march in history occurs, in New York City, as world leaders converge to talk at the United Nations on the crisis facing our planet. Will they listen to the people thronging the streets? The People’s Climate March organizers hope so. They, and the scientists, say our survival as a species depends on it. This powerful hour-long documentary, Disruption, details the science behind the push to get the world’s politicians to listen and take action. Although the Native voices are not front and center in this film, Indigenous Peoples are mentioned here and are among the organizers and sponsors of the planned mass protest. RELATED: Indigenous Peoples at Forefront of Historic People’s Climate March in New York City “Indigenous Peoples’ traditional teachings have long warned that if human beings failed to protect and care for Mother Earth and the natural world, the survival of humanity would be threatened,” notes the indigenous section of the People’s Climate March website. “Today, increasingly severe impacts of climate change threaten ecosystems and food production around the world and Indigenous Peoples are on the frontlines of climate change impacts. Indigenous Peoples are participating in the People’s Climate March to bring attention to the devastating impacts of climate change and to share our hopes and teachings for living in harmony with Mother Earth.” Watch the video below; it will not feel like an hour.