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Climate Change Warriors  Block World’s Largest Coal Port
World Economy

Climate Change Warriors Block World’s Largest Coal Port

Climate Change Warriors from 12 Pacific Island nations paddled canoes into the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, Australia, to bring attention to their grave fears about the consequences of climate change on their home countries, IPS reported.
The 30 warriors joined a flotilla of hundreds of Australians in kayaks and on surfboards to delay eight of the 12 ships scheduled to pass through the port during the nine-hour blockade, which was organized with support from the US-based environmental group 350.org.
The warriors came from 12 Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Micronesia, Vanuatu, The Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Niue.
Mikaele Maiava spoke with IPS about why he and his fellow climate change warriors had travelled to Australia: “We want Australia to remember that they are a part of the Pacific. And as a part of the Pacific, we are a family, and having this family means we stay together. We cannot afford, one of the biggest sisters, really destroying everything for the family.
“So, we want the Australian community, especially the Australian leaders, to think about more than their pockets, to really think about humanity not just for the Australian people, but for everyone,” Mikaele said.
Speaking at the opening of a new coal mine on Oct. 13, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that “coal is good for humanity.”

 Humanity
Mikaele questioned Abbott’s position, asking, “If you are talking about humanity: Is humanity really for people to lose land? Is humanity really for people to lose their culture and identity? Is humanity to live in fear for our future generations to live in a beautiful island and have homes to go to? Is that really humanity? Is that really the answer for us to live in peace and harmony? Is that really the answer for the future?”
Mikaele said that he and his fellow climate warriors were aware that their fight was not just for the Pacific, and that other developing countries were affected by climate change too.
Mikaele described how his home of Tokelau was already seeing the effects of climate change. Tokelau’s coastline is also beginning to erode, he said.
Tokelau became the first country in the world to use 100 percent renewable energy when they switched to solar energy in 2012.

 Serious Threat
The Pacific Islands Forum describes climate change as the “single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific.”
“Climate change is an immediate and serious threat to sustainable development and poverty eradication in many Pacific Island countries, and for some their very survival.
Yet these countries are amongst the least able to adapt and to respond; and the consequences they face, and already now bear, are significantly disproportionate to their collective miniscule contributions to global emissions,” it says.
Pacific Island leaders have recently stepped up their language, challenging the Australian government to stop delaying action on climate change.

 

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