30 ‘Pacific Climate Warriors’ from 12 Pacific Island Countries will travel to Australia this month — taking with them the stories of the impacts of climate change on their homelands. The warriors’ trip will include a peaceful blockade of the Newcastle Coal Port on October 17 to highlight the role of the Australian coal industry in fuelling climate change that is sinking the Pacific.
“It’s important for us as people from the Marshall Islands to take action because our islands mean everything to us,” said Milañ Loeak, a 26-year-old warrior who is traveling to Australia.
“Who else will stand up and fight for our people and our islands and culture? When will we be assured that we can continue to live without continuously fearing for the future and that of our children, grandchildren and our islands?”
“Climate change is not an issue that the Marshall Islands or Tokelau or any other island in the Pacific should be doing alone because this is a global problem. None of us who have felt the impacts of climate change should continue to suffer through them just to fulfill others’ interests. It’s wrong and it simply doesn’t work that way,” concluded Milañ.
Koreti Tiumalu, Pacific Outreach Coordinator for 350.org: “For over 20 years now Pacific Islanders have been negotiating with little effect for countries like Australia to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and to stop coal, oil and gas exports. Despite the dire implications for its neighbours, Australia has plans to triple its coal exports and become the world’s largest gas exporter,” Tiumalu said.
“This tour, and in particular the flotilla at the Newcastle coal port, is a way for the warriors to stand up and say they are not drowning, they are fighting. The warriors hope to mobilise thousands of Australians to stand up and take action against the destructive fossil fuel industry and join the call to protect the Pacific islands and their people.”