SMALL ISLANDS and GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

I’ve been working so intensely, I have had virtually no time to write on this blog this summer. A mild shame—perhaps much more for me than anyone else! The Facing Ali project is a couple of weeks from what is called picture lock.

But I thought I would quickly post this message from avaaz.org, talking about the immediate threat of changing climate to small islands everywhere. It is something to see politicians from these countries saying that the people and their islands are on the verge of being submerged/overwhelmed by rising tides, increased storms and so on. It feels very much like a clarion call, a microcosm, of the effects of what could or will come to coastal people everywhere…which includes countless major cities all over the world, of course.

Read it and send it. It is hard to wrap my head around such events, but they are, indeed, real, and so our heads must try and see a little deeper, farther, clearer.

Next week, the leaders of a group of small islands are planning an unprecedented effort to press Security Council itself to address climate change as a threat to international peace and security.

For those in small island states, rising sea levels are an existential threat. Climate change isn’t a far-off menace, it’s a day-to-day crisis; as an Avaaz member in Fiji wrote this week, “whenever there is a particularly high tide, the village is flooded and homes are awash.” Moving the climate debate into the security arena could shift the global politics of the issue — but the effort is likely to meet fierce opposition from the world’s biggest polluters. Sign the petition now to raise a worldwide chorus of support for this call—it will be presented by the islands’ ambassadors next week at the UN:

avaaz-petition, press here

For the first time in human history, the North Pole can be circumnavigated—the Arctic ice is melting more quickly than almost anyone anticipated, pushing up sea levels week by week. Now, small island nations—where homes are, at most, mere meters above sea level—are preparing evacuation plans to guarantee the survival of their populations. They are on the frontline, experiencing the first wave of devastating impacts from climate change which soon will threaten us all.

The more signatures we raise to be delivered to the UN next week, the more urgently this call will ring out to protect our common future. Sign now:

avaaz-petition, press here

The small islands’ brave campaign for survival is our campaign as well. Just as sea levels rise or fall everywhere at the same time, the choices of every person everywhere affect the future of our common home. By standing with the people at the front line of the climate crisis, we show them, and ourselves, that we recognize our fundamental shared humanity—and the responsibilities that come with it.

These are the States who are sponsoring the resolution: Fiji, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, joined by Canada and Turkey.

For a draft of the Small Islands States Resolution, please see:
Small Islands States Resolutions

For more information about those presenting the petition
please press here.

For information on Tuvalu’s evacuation plan and climate refugees press here.

For information about how rising sea levels will affect us all.

For more information about all of the island states.

No answers or even insight, but one can only hope that awareness is one of the keys—then love, compassion, greater vision, and from the epic proportion of the problem, grace, of course.

Sending love, missing the interactions,

Pete xoxo

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4 Responses to “SMALL ISLANDS and GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE”

  1. Erynn says:

    Hey Pete

    I’ve been wondering how you were doing and how your project was going. I’ve been pretty busy following US politics and keeping my friends informed on violence against women in the US military the last few months. It’s been emotionally draining stuff, but somebody needs to keep the issues in front of people. I’m continually appalled by how little the politicians in my country seem to care about anything but money — I’ve seen stories several times lately about small island nations in danger of utterly disappearing as the ice shelves crack and melt and the sea level rises. Where will these people go? It’s so frightening and I feel so badly for them.

    I will definitely sign the petition and pass the word along.

    May peace and sanity prevail.

  2. Karen says:

    Hi Pete,

    Glad all is well. I was wondering about the dead air. Glad you came up for a breather.

    I grew up on Long Island and I can see changes that I can only attribute to global warming.

    The beach at the end of my in-law’s street is gone. Half the public beach an eighth of a mile west is being held back from the town’s main road by a 20-foot-high sea wall and they stopped replacing the paved parking lot on that end of the beach because every time there is a hurricane or Nor’easter, the parking lot is history—right over the sea wall. (Oh yeah, come on Hanna.) This is on the North Shore.

    As for the South Shore, in the ‘70s we used to hang out on a beach in the Hamptons that is gone, as is the road that paralleled it, and our town beach—smack in the middle of the South Shore—used to consist of an inlet, a dune about a quarter mile wide, then the beach proper. The inlet’s north shore is now the beach. Each town owns a stretch of a huge sandbar that protected the South Shore proper for centuries. The first European Settlers documented it. There are now holes in that protection along the entire length of the Island.

    This has all happened in the last 20 years and none of it can be blamed completely on erosion, especially because they trucked in sand for 10 years to rebuild these beaches. They finally gave up about a decade ago. What global warming?

    I know how rising sea levels are affecting us now and it scares the hell out of me. That clarion call is falling on deaf ears.

    Hi Erynn—I’ve been reading your blog and I’m still wrapping my mind around the warrior rite and everything you discussed in connection with it. You are an extremely strong person you know. I will think of your friend often and please let us know when he’s back. And of course there is politics! Rest assured, I am reading, sharing, and passing things along. I’ve wanted to post, but I can’t quite figure out how without having an account.

    Pete, thanks for letting me “borrow” your blog again.

    Love to you both,
    Karen

  3. Erynn says:

    Thanks Karen — you can post to my LiveJournal without having an account. All you have to do is hit “reply” — it will post you as anonymous and I’ll see it before the post gets approved. When I look at it and approve it, your comment will appear. Just sign it at the bottom like you do here and all will be well!

    Some journals don’t allow anonymous posting, but my mom and several of my other friends don’t have journals on the site and I don’t want them to be left out of the conversation so I’m fine with it. I just have screening for those rare times when I get abusive anonymous posts that I don’t want to let through.

    Thank you so much for your comment about the warrior rite and what’s going on with us here. I’ll be sure to let people know when Arlen comes home.

  4. Sue says:

    Hi Pete,

    Well, I can’t really speak for all of your readers, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that it’s highly likely we’ve all missed seeing your blessays on the threat of rising sea levels would indeed be very imminent and very real threat! The impact of global climate change would have a much more immediate impact for the citizens of these islands than it does for individuals who are busy shrugging off the “distinct” possibility that maybe one day their coastal city might be an underwater city….

    It’s not just rising sea levels and large blocks of arctic ice that are melting at an alarming rate. It is also all the other climate changes that are occurring throughout the world and wreaking havoc–more frequent and much fiercer hurricanes, drier winters or summers, or summers that are wetter or colder than usual–weather conditions that, if they become a pattern rather than an exception can also wreck crops, reduce food supplies and ruin human lives.

    I think part of the challenge in getting people to take the issue seriously is that the media has focused too narrowly on global warming, so if people are seeing changes in their local climates that don’t look anything like a “warming” trend, they’re inclined to disbelieve the research and the evidence in front of their own eyes. I’m beginning to think that a crucial aspect of educating the public on this issue is to emphasize global climate change–and provide very clear, local examples where possible. Another important aspect would be in teaching people to be able to assess what they hear in the media more critically–in the sense of being more discerning and asking questions–rather than simply accept it as true because they heard it on the news.

    Bright blessings,
    Sue

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