Sunday, 3 March 2013

'We are not drowning, we are fighting'

That was the emphatic and positive message being heard in chants, war songs challenges and dances yesterday, from those most immediately threatened by climate change. Celebrating a Warrior Day of Action, young people from fourteen Pacific Island nations took part in protests and demonstrations of their opposition to the energy policies that are driving their nations beneath the waves.

Mikaele Maiava, spokesperson for the '350 Pacific' organization behind the day of action, said they were "laying down a challenge to the fossil fuel industry. It is their coal and oil and gas vs. our future. They cannot both coexist. And it is our future that has to win." And beyond their exhortations, these are nations who are prepared to act as well as chant.

One of the fourteen nations involved - Tokelau in the central Pacific - became the first nation in the world to turn off the diesel generators, and switch on the solar panels,  relying solely on solar for its energy needs. Another, Fiji, is well on its way to achieving a target of 90% energy from renewable sources by 2015 - with nearly half its energy now from renewables.

Such actions stand in stark contrast to the hand-wringing by leaders of the worst polluters like the US and China, whose fine words on climate change mask actions geared for expanding exploitation of fossil fuel resources like coal, tar sands and shale oil. Time for a little Warrior Action from Obama and Jinping?

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