My name is Mikaele Maiava. I’m writing from the Pacific Island archipelago of Tokelau to ask you to join with us in action as we take on the fossil fuel industry.
Last October, Tokelau turned off the last of its diesel generators. In their place, we switched on our solar plants, making Tokelau the first country in the world to become 100% renewably-powered.
I woke up before sunrise that day, excited about the history Tokelau was making. My whole village made its way to the site of over 100 solar panels — we could see the many hours of hard labor that had gone into this project. As we counted down to the switch, I could feel future generations smiling at us and thanking us. Our children’s future suddenly looked brighter because we had the vision (and perseverance) necessary to get off fossil fuels and switch to 100% renewable energy.
You might wonder why we bothered. Aren’t we doomed to lose our islands from sea-level rise? I don’t blame you for thinking that if you did. So often the global media victimises the Pacific Islands and portrays us as helplessly succumbing to climate change and 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. They don’t know that as Pacific Islanders, we are warriors, and that the land we live on is part of us.
We know that the longer the fossil fuel industry gets its way, the worse climate change will be, and the more sea-level rise will threaten our islands. But giving up on our home is not an option. We are not drowning.
We are fighting.