Friday, 10 December 2010

Pacific voices touch Cancun

Stanley Simpson, Climate Pasifika Media

9 December Cancun Mexico - The songs, dance and stories of Pacific island people today touched many in Cancun, Mexico – bringing a 'real'and emotional element to global climate change talks.

Many people in the audience at the Jaguar room in Cancunmesse shed silent tears at the struggle for survival being waged in the islands, but were also entertained through song and dance – portraying the vibrant cultures and identities of the Pacific that are now under threat.

Speakers and performers were from Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands and Fiji.

"We love our traditional dance,” Kiribati’s Marie Tiimon told those gathered. “We are not just entertaining you today but also trying to tell you that these are the cultures that will be lost if nothing is done about climate change.”

“These cultures have been passed down from generation to generation.”

Through their different voices and performances the Pacific island representatives provided a powerful expression of the faces, sounds, and images of climate change – as well as the efforts of courageous, happy and committed people to hold on to their homeland and identity.

“We are not sitting back,” says Claire of Kiribati. “Climate change is a life and death issue for us.”

Luana from the Cook Islands danced a traditional dance signifying “We three” – Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia.

“We are all in the same boat of climate change,” she said.
Despite the singing and dancing there was no mistaking the urgency of the situation and the heart-wrenching plea of the people and children of the islands to save their future.

Taukiei Kitana of Tuvalu presented ‘A sinking feeling’ and impressed how smaller Pacific islands were the most vulnerable of the vulnerable to climate change.

“We don’t have to relocate if we do something now,” he urged.

Tiimon echoed his words saying: “We love our islands – we don’t want to move out.”

Tasi from the Kiribati Ministry of Environment added: “Our ancestors shed their blood fighting for our land. We cant afford to lose our land to climate change.”

“Most of our people are fearful and afraid of losing our lands.”

It was a creative, engaging and powerful presentation of the climate change situation in the Pacific and an expression of the Pacific peoples commitment to fight one of the greatest challenges of our time.

Luana Bosanquet Heays and Ulamila Wragg - Cook Islands

Singing Farwell song

Audience participating in Kiribati applause

MC of the Event

Speaker from Kiribati and Tuvalu

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