Claire Anterea’s Speech at the Fiji Museum 19/08/2011.

L-R Romitta Datt, Ewan Cameron, Claire Anterea, Raquel Ribeiro de Miranda

Our children grew up in a world free of pollution! Pollution in every way.
• Environment pollution
• Mental and Social pollution

Our children grew up in a world of new technology and a changing environment – CC

Our children will not have a place called HOME.
• Is there a TOMORROW for Kiribati or Pacific Children?

One of the characteristics of children is their vulnerability: their innocence, humility and trusting attitude makes children the most vulnerable in the world. Pacific children are amongst the most vulnerable in the world to the impacts of CC. CC is a silent thief or murderer that comes quietly and gently to take away your life and right. Little by little until you have nothing left.

The impacts of CC has been seen and felt in our islands for many years but the relationship to CC was not known. When our coastal lands were eroded and line of trees fell, when our well water became saltier, when sea water intruded into our gardens, when it rained too much at the wrong time of the year, when there was drought for too long, when our fishes got washed up dead on our shores, when the king tides swept over the island like a tidal wave….. Do we need science to explain CC to us? We live in it day by day. Actually, today, it is part of our lives and we learn to adapt to the impacts as they come. In fact, we have a stronger evidence or voice today to support us at the negotiation arena. We provide the facts of the impacts of CC while Science explains the cause and effect and how it is related.

But CC is not just the science: the cause and effect. It also involves negotiations, commitment, passion and time. Most Pacific islanders have the passion and time but not the negotiation skills. The lack of negotiation skills stems from a culture of SHARING. We share the fruits of our land freely thus land ownership is very important to us. Our survival depends on our land and ocean which provides our livelihood. We do not sell anything to our neighbors because selling is contradictory to sharing. The reality is, we lack the negotiation skills because negotiation goes beyond the boundary of our culture. The only negotiation we know is based on trust. We want people to trust us and vice versa. But alas, we are waking up to the fact that we live in a global village where everyone thinks differently and live by different values. We are taught to give from the heart but today we are in a world that sells, bargains, gambles, negotiate etc. What’s more, we are negotiating on a major crucial issue…the survival of our CHILDREN. It is scary, terrifying and mind-boggling! It’s like jumping to the moon to bring it down to earth!!! Do we stand a chance to survive?

Is there a TOMORROW for our children?

Yes! Of course there is tomorrow if WE ALL take CC seriously and ACT NOW to give them a TOMORROW.