A global plea for the survival of the Small Island Developing States

By September 24, 2014 Blog No Comments

A Speech on the occasion of the Global People’s Climate March, in Perth.

 

In the face of Climate Change, we need to widen the scope of our vision together, from our own homes here in Australia, to look at the problems our world is facing on a global scale. The challenges are many, and we have yet to forge a clear pathway of solutions together. Our world and our environment is a single organism: it is the very foundation of our being. And yet, how could we not take good notice of the changes affecting our nearest neighbours?

I am from the island nation of Mauritius. One of the reasons there is so much resistance to climate change in large countries like Australia, is that we see the effects on only a very small, local scale. This is not the case for my country and my people, or for the people of the Small Island Developing States.  Our countries are small, and remote, with low-lying coasts, limited resources and beautiful, but fragile, natural environments. We depend highly on international trade, and we, the Small Island Developing States, are on the frontline of the effects of climate change.

Today, we have come together to learn about climatic change. Unfortunately, in the Small Island Developing States, we are living it! The sea level is rising on my homeland at this moment, and the homes and livelihoods of my countrymen are under constant threat from climate change.

If you asked me about progress on climate change some time ago, I would have said, that despite the continuous efforts, of the peoples of the Small Island Developing States, to raise awareness about the effects of climate change, I would have said, people in large countries are still either blissfully unaware, or frankly, sceptic. However, when I look at you, the crowd before me today, I feel HOPEFUL. Thank you so much for coming today, in this weather, to show your support and to take action. You give me hope for the future. I see a community standing before me, and I see a community standing, behind the peoples of the Small Island Developing States. And there is hope, for our survival.

Together, we are citizens of the world. The reasons to take action on global warming are so compelling; I see the consequences of climate change in front of my eyes, in my country, every day, and I see it, directly impacting the ecosystems of the communities of the Small Island Developing States. Seas are taking over our land, the fish are disappearing from our oceans, tropical storms and draughts are ravaging our crops and our homes, and our economy is greatly affected; we are suffering the consequences of a lifestyle we have not lived! We contribute the less to global warming but we suffer the most; action on climate change lies at the feet of people in much larger countries. I invite you, I implore you, I beseech you to join me, in the call for strong action on climate change right now, action for the people of Australia, action for the people of the Small Island Developing States, and action, together, for the world.

We are global citizens. We have an obligation to one another, as citizens, and as nations together to take immediate action on behalf of the environment that we share, and on behalf of our brothers and sisters living in more vulnerable places than us. We need to find urgent solutions together, now, to this urgent problem, so we can prevent, together, the advent of larger and more catastrophic changes. Otherwise, I am afraid, we may come to witness the death of states! I say: that shall not be! I am unwilling to have my homeland, and my people, dragged down the landslide of ecological disaster, that is not, of our own making. I thank you, for joining me today, to call for bold action together, from our leaders, that reflects our hearts and the wishes of people like you and me, and my countrymen.

I want to be free, to live out the course of my natural life, in my own homeland.  I plead with you, members of the global community, people of Australia, to redirect our focus together to a new concept of sustainable living. In the face of the dramatic consequences of global warming around the world and the flagrant role of the global industry in the process, it is urgent, now more than ever, to re-evaluate our ethos, our hearts and our actions as global citizens together. Our aim today is not only action now; it is to align the present and future of our shared planet. In this, my friends, the people of the Small Island Developing States, are at your mercy.  Our future may be difficult, but when at look at you here today, our survival is clearly possible – Our survival, together, is imperative! THANK YOU.

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