Grassroots climate activists from the Pacific Islands and the Philippines have arrived in Rome to share their stories on the realities of climate change affecting their countries. As communities at the frontline of climate change they have witnessed first hand the realities of extreme weather events and their impacts. They are also active campaigners in the fight against climate change in their respective communities.
Among several planned events, they will also participate in the multi-faith/citizens’ rally taking place in Rome on Sunday June 28 to hail the release of the Pope’s Encyclical Laudato Si’ and urge the adoption of an ambitious legally binding global agreement on climate change at the UN conference in Paris, December 2015. Further details on the march can be found here.
Among the global climate activists who came to Rome are:
- Arianne Kassman (Papua New Guinea), 350.org’s Papua New Guinea Country (PNG) Coordinator – Youth Integrity Program (YIP) Coordinator with Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG). Papua New Guinea has the first climate change refugees in the world, on an island offshore from the mainland, the Carteret islands of Bougainville.
- George Guivalu Nacewa (Fiji), a trained facilitator for peacebuilding and dialogue. He has worked as a Youth Facilitator for the Strengthening Citizen’s Engagement in Fiji Initiative, a program under the United Nations Development Programme. George is 350.org’s Fiji Coordinator.
- Fr. Jovino V. Batecan (Philippines), a diocesan priest in the province of Lingayen, Dagupan, Philippines. He currently leads community efforts to integrate eco-spirituality and organic farming as a means for building resilience in the face of climate change impacts.
- Fr. Warren R. Puno (Philippines), a Parish priest at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Quezon, Philippines. He is currently leading the community in Atimonan in a grassroots opposition to a planned coal power plant in their community.
In the next few days, we will share their stories as they fight against droughts, sea-level rise, coal power plants and social attitudes, in defence of the poorest and the most vulnerable in the face of the climate crisis.