Yesterday marked the close of the Pacifika Climate Leadership Workshop here in Suva, Fiji. It was a bit sad for all of us gathered be parting ways — it's remarkable just how strong a community can form over 4 days of story-telling, learning, strategizing, action planning, and most of all, laughing (Pacific islanders sure can laugh!) — but all in all our heading off in different directions was very much a reason for celebration. 

Celebration might not be the first word to come to mind when considering climate change in the Pacific. Just about everyone present at the workshop had stories to share of flooded villages, rising seas and dissappearing coast-lines, immediate and visible degradation of natural surroundings of all kinds, not to mention increasing erosion of the region's cultural richness.

But celebration is the dominant characteristic of our parting nonetheless, knowing that there are now over 50 people from all across the Pacific — from Fiji, Papau New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands, Kirbati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, and New Zealand — ready to take on the leadership to inspire and mobilize their communities in growing this movement.

Lenin from Tonga, snapping his fingers with excitement, powerful summed up the group's sentiments on the third day: "Our communities arrived in the Pacific by canoe. We know how to survive, and we WILL act together now." The Pacific is not going to sit idly as their islands and cultures come under threat from climate change.  They are ready to get to work, and we now know of few of the folks who will be leading the way.

Stay tuned for more posts from the workshop coming soon…

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