Timeliness is not usually the Pacific region’s strong suit. So much so that the Pacific Islands are often stereotyped as being on ‘Pacific time’, where things happen very slowly (if at all), and in a very relaxed manner. However, the organisers that we work with in the Kingdom of Tonga are the contrary – they are super-organised and make things happen – every week.

There’s really only one certainty for me on Monday mornings – and that is that I’ll receive the ‘Monday Morning Memo’ from the Tongan National Youth Congress. It usually features an update about what 350.org related activities they are up to – from tree-planting to beach clean-ups. In short, over the last two years the Tongan National Youth Congress Team have been one of the most active group of 350 organisers in the world.

Recently, the Monday Morning Memo featured an alarming story about how sea-level rise is already affecting parts of Tonga –with these photos.


The average global rate of sea-level rise from 1900 – 2000 was about 1.7mm/yr, however, since 1993, sea-level rise has been measured much more accurately using satellite altimeters. This satellite data shows that the islands of Tonga have experienced an increased rate of sea-level rise – +8.6 mm per year since 1993 (compared with the global average of 3.2mm/yr since 1993). Research suggests that this is attributable to natural climate variability caused by the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, as well as longer-term changes in wind patterns – possibly caused by climate change.

The thing is that from here on in, as climate change impacts ramp up, sea-level rise is expected to accelerate by up to 1.6m by 2100 or sooner. That will mean water will be near the top of those buildings within the next century.

And that is why our Tongan organisers are mobilizing for a massive bike ride through the nation’s capital, Nuku'alofa for Moving Planet on September 24th. They’re already practicing and building a riding team – check out the photo emailed into us in the last week –



And it’s these reasons that the 350.org Pacific team is now gearing up for the Pasifika Climate Leadership Program – which aims to engage 1000 young people across the Pacific Region with education and leadership skills to address climate change in their local communities, and to make their voice heard at the global stage.

Getting participants from across the Pacific to the workshop in Fiji is an expensive business. But with your help, we can support participants to travel to the workshop and reach out to 1000 Pacific youth across the entire Pacific region. Please consider donating to the Pacific workshop here. For more information about it, email [email protected].



Secretariat of the Pacific Community Applied Geoscience and Technology Division:

Pacific Climate Change Science Program “Climate variability and change in the Pacific islands and East Timor”: https://www.cawcr.gov.au/projects/PCCSP/publications.html

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