The Climate Alternatiba Tour arrived in Paris on the 26th of September 2015. The Pacific Climate Warriors were part of the sixty thousand people that came to celebrate the end of the tour in the République in Paris, over the weekend.
The Alternatiba started with less than ten people. They cycled around France, stopping in 187 cities to show that ecological and social alternatives were available. Three of the Pacific Climate Warriors, Niten Anni from the Marshall Islands, Litiana Kalsrap from Vanuatu, and Litia Maiava from Tokelau cycled with them when they arrived at Ile Saint-Denis to show the power of solidarity.
“We are here to share our stories and highlight the interconnectedness in the climate crisis and how it is being addressed,” stated Litia Maiava.
The Pacific Climate Warriors were part of the Alternatiba for two reasons;
- To stand in solidarity with the thousands of people in Paris mobilizing around COP21 and Beyond, and
- To call on institutions, individuals, and governments to show climate leadership and align their investments with their values by divesting from fossil fuels ahead of the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris
This was also an opportunity for the Pacific Climate Warriors to share their stories and highlight the impacts of climate change in the islands.
“The developed world needs to commit to moving away from the fossil fuel industry that is resulting in very real climate-related impacts in Kiribati. The Pacific Climate Warriors do not stand alone. Thousands of concerned people in Paris are standing with us to demand a moratorium on any new fossil fuel projects or expansions, and there be a just transition towards renewable energy. For Kiribati and other low-lying atoll islands, divestment is about survival,” said Toani Benson, Climate Warrior from Kiribati.
In his speech to those that attended the event at Republique, Pacific Climate Warrior from the Fiji islands, George Nacewa stated that more needs to be done by world leaders to ensure the survival of the Pacific.
“I encourage you to keep speaking truth to power and demand that world leaders stop investing in this climate crisis, move away from fossil fuels and commit to a just transition towards renewable energy.”
The Pacific Climate Warriors are in Europe to share their stories of climate impacts in the Islands and let world leaders meeting for COP21 know that people all around the world are recognizing the need to keep oil and gas in the ground and taking action to challenge the power and the moral license of the fossil fuel industry.
“For us Pacific Islanders, there is nothing more urgent or necessary” concluded Nacewa.
After their time in Paris, the Climate Warriors will travel to Rome where they will join Yeb Sano and the Peoples Pilgrimage, before heading to the Vatican to carry out a traditional Pacific prayer vigil praying for their island homes, their Pacific Island leaders heading to COP21, as well as for world leaders to make stronger legally binding commitments to ensuring the survival of the Pacific and its people.
The Pacific Climate Warriors also had an opportunity to share their message through a song written by Stalin Konainao, Pacific Climate Warrior from the Solomon Islands. The song reaffirms the shared spirit of the Warriors, that “they are not drowning, they are fighting!” You can see a video of the song here.