“We’re going to halve the number of cars on the road by campaigning for public transport, walking and cycling. Oh there aren’t any skateboards in Palau, but we could try get some in…”

That’s part of the 10-year vision and strategy that the participants at the 350 Palau Youth Climate Leadership workshop came up with today. Leonard Basilius, from the Palau Community Action Agency explains that:

“While Palau’s coral reefs, taro patches and land are very vulnerable to climate change, we also have a steady stream of cars travelling up and down the main road in Koror, which makes it one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emitters in the Pacific Islands. So that’s why our team here are focusing on changing the way people move around in Palau. It will also save us locals money, and it helps prevent diabetes and other problem diseases affecting our country.”

The team is starting work on a petition that will call on the President and his government to support the establishment of a public bus service. Following that, they plan on a 350 Walk-a-thon and bike-race to fundraise and to encourage people to leave the car at home where possible.

But before all of that, they’re busy getting ready for their Connect the Dots action on May 5th, “Ridge to Reef” – where they will start out holding up dots at the ridge of the local hills to highlight the impact of climate change in their landscape. Then they will travel down to a taro patch, which is suffering from saltwater inundation due to sea-level rise. They’ll be holding the dots up high there. Then lastly, they will take their dots down to the coral reef, which is suffering from both the warming and acidification of the oceans.

Go go Palau! Next stop for me is Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia – where we’ll be doing another workshop and yet more planning to Connect the Dots.

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