“So often the global media victimises the Pacific Islands, and portrays us as helplessly succumbing to climate change and the rising seas. But the global media know nothing of who we really are, or how it feels to live on these paradise islands we call home… We are not drowning, we are fighting.”
– Mikaele Maiava, 350 Tokelau
What climate changes are occurring in Tokelau, and what’s next?
- Temperatures are increasing, and will continue to increase: It’s predicted that the average temperature in Tokelau will increase by up to 3°C by the end of the century, under a business as usual high emissions scenario.
- Sea levels have risen: As the sea level rises, this places increasing pressure on the water supplies Tokelau depends on. Rising sea level makes it increasingly hard to protect the freshwater sources from encroaching salinity, while warmer oceans increase evaporative rates.
- The ocean is becoming increasingly more acidic: About one quarter of human produced CO2 is absorbed by oceans, making them more acidic. This impacts species vital to the tropical reef ecosystems. Coral reefs in the area are likely to reduce in size by up to 75% by 2100, according to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Acidification may place more pressure on fish supplies too, but it’s believed that for the near future, the projected decline in coastal fisheries in the region will not affect food security.
- More extreme wet and dry periods: By the end of the 21st century, it’s considered likely that both wet and dry extreme events will be more frequent. In addition, it’s likely that rainfall will in general increase in the region by up to 20% by 2035.
More detailed information from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Tokelau climate change summary is available for download here –> SPC’s Tokelau Climate Change Factsheet.
What does Tokelau’s Government think should be done about the problem?
In 2011, Tokelau Government representatives travelled to Durban, South Africa to participate in climate talks initiated by the United Nations (UN). Tokelau outlined how it was to become the first country to be 100% renewable, and called for a global climate accord which bound countries to emissions reductions. The full press statement can be viewed at this website.
What’s the overriding message of your campaigns?
350 Tokelau believes that despite how we are portrayed in the global media, we are not helpless! As a country, we will not lay down and simply accept the loss of our homes. We believe that we can take action, and encourage others around the world to do the same. In October 2012, Tokelau turned off its last diesel generators, becoming the first country in the world to be 100% renewable! Not only are our energy sources cleaner, but the project saves the government over $800,000 a year, which will be redirected to other essential services like education and healthcare (http://tokelau.org.nz/Solar+Project.html).
Spurred on by this project, we joined our Pacific brethren on March 2nd 2013 to perform our unique war challenges, songs, and dances. We laid down a challenge to the fossil fuel industry, encouraging those nations to act as we have, and facilitate the move to better sources of energy! In 2014 we’ll keep working in partnership with 350 Pacific to make our voice heard.
Contact 350 Tokelau
It’s best to contact at Mikaele’s email address, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and we look forward to hearing from people looking to volunteer, or get involved in our activities!
We’re currently in contact with a number of our team coordinators, representatives and volunteers on the ground in the Pacific Region – compiling information on the key climate issues facing the country, what our teams are doing locally, and how local groups are standing up and confronting the challenge of climate change.
As we compile more information, this link will be appropriately updated with even more information! So check back soon!
350 Pacific team