“Pacific Climate Warriors” to confront German coal that threatens Pacific Islands. Pacific Islanders to stand in solidarity as thousands blockade coal operations ahead of UN Climate Talks.
The day before the start of the UN Climate Talks (COP23) under the Presidency of Fiji, Pacific Islanders will confront Europe’s biggest source of CO2, the Rhineland coalfields, just outside of Bonn where the negotiations take place.
The Pacific Climate Warriors representing various grassroots, frontline and indigenous communities from across the Pacific, will hold a traditional ceremony in solidarity with over a thousand climate activists who are poised to blockade coal operations in a mass action of civil disobedience.
George Nacewa, Climate Warrior from the Fiji Islands says: “Germany’s coal mining exports destruction to the Pacific and the world. Climate change poses a direct threat to our home and our people. We demand an immediate end to the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. In order to give Pacific Islands a fighting chance for survival, the future must be one powered by renewable energy and free of fossil fuels.” The ceremony will take place in a ghost village that is set to be demolished for the expansion of the nearby open-pit lignite mine. The Pacific Climate Warriors will hand over blessings in the form of giant 6m-long red sei (flower) petals made from Pacific tapa cloth. In many places in the Pacific, a sei is a flower worn behind the ear and represents the beauty and resilience of Pacific cultures.
“Pacific people are strong and resilient but there is only so much we can adapt to. We won’t let the fate of the Pacific be determined by countries putting profits and polluters before people. We’re coming to Bonn to stand up for the Pacific. We’re not drowning, we’re fighting,” Nacewa adds. The Pacific Climate Warriors will be in Bonn throughout the COP to tell the world what climate change in the Pacific looks like, demand an end to the age of fossil fuels and an immediate transition to renewable energy that is just and fair.
Pacific Island nations are some of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The continuous burning of fossil fuels is leading to accelerated sea level rise, longer more intense heat waves, and exacerbated natural disasters.