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If you didn’t know, COP26 is 2021’s United Nations Climate Change Conference. 

On the one hand, two indigenous representatives from the Pacific have been invited for introductory speeches so far - Brianna Freuan and India Logan-Riley, who both delivered moving talanoa to a room full of world leaders. 

On the other hand - as India says themself, they first spoke to the conference six years ago. 

Six years ago

Six years of world leaders meeting again and again and hearing about the pacific plight, about the wildfires suffering, sea level rise, and the biodiversity loss but declining to act until we’re here - in 2021, at the last chance for some of our ancestral lands. 

I don’t know what to say about how we’ve gotten to this point - six years of inaction, six years of the global alliance not caring about us enough as a piece of it to prevent the destruction of our homes, our islands. Why though? Is it too abstract for rich abstract countries to understand, are they going to ignore it till it’s on their own doors? Or do they just not care about us? 

I don’t know. 

It’s  too late for some of our communities and their lands and atolls, that have already been damaged, drowned and burnt - but by the end of this two week conference, we will know whether world leaders have decided whether to do the bare minimum for our islands or - just let us sink. It is so dehumanising - we don’t deserve that, to pay for a problem we didn’t create because the financial institutions that did create them refuse to get their shit together. 

As Brianna says though “we are not drowning, we are fighting”, and though we’re known for our seafaring and navigation I’ve always admired our ability to come together as a community and make big amazing things happen. I’ll be watching the COP26 with interest, I hope some of you start brainstorming ideas of what the revolution will look like, if we gotta do what we gotta do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

Submitted by

Jessie Reddaway

Written 9/11/2021