Aaron Packard Aaron Packard, October 13, 2014

The Pacific Climate Warriors have arrived in Sydney with five specially made traditional canoes, which will lead a fleet of boats to stop coal ships, at the port of Newcastle, for a day.

These young people have travelled to Australia to highlight the impacts of climate change in the Islands.

Warrior crew
In the past week alone, King Tides have left a trail of devastation in Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands.

“Australia’s continued commitment to expanding the fossil fuel industry and increasing coal exports is resulting in very real climate related impacts in the Pacific,” said Seia Mikaele Maiava, Climate Warrior from Tokelau.

“To keep the Pacific Islands above water, we have to find ways to keep coal and gas in the ground. However, the port of Newcastle is exporting destruction to the Pacific Islands, and still there are plans for expansion.” 

One of the main reasons behind this peaceful protest in Newcastle is so young Pacific Islanders can stand for the Pacific, and do what they must to ensure the preservation of their island homes, their people, their futures and their culture.

At the foundation of the diverse cultures that exist throughout the Pacific is the recognition of the role of the land in shaping identity, as well as acknowledging and respecting the people of that land.

Upon their arrival, the Climate Warriors paid due respect to landowners in Newcastle. They visited the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy for an official “Welcome to Country.” An important ceremony the elders held to allow the Climate Warriors the opportunity to recognise Aboriginal culture and history and also pay respect to the fact that they are on Aboriginal land. 
Warriors at Tent Embassy

Apart from that, the Climate Warriors have also been getting to know each other and better understand the overlap and shared experiences they have, living on the frontlines of climate change.

Each one of the Climate Warriors carries with them stories of their people and the harsh realities of climate change. More importantly however, they also carry with them the hopes of their people and the support of their elders to stand together in solidarity with each other and do what they must to ensure the survival of their cultures, languages, identity and land.

George Nacewa from the Fiji Islands and Milañ Loeak of the Marshall Islands spoke with Radio Australia when they arrived, about why they are here as Climate Warriors prepared to stand up for the Pacific.

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Newcastle flotilla

On October 17 the Pacific Climate Warriors will use their traditional canoes to peacefully block the world's largest coal port in Newcastle.

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