Climate Change is a major challenge for the Pacific and its leaders are looking for ways to address and mitigate its impacts.
In doing so, representatives from the Pacific Centre for the Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCe-SD) from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji are in the country to encourage the youth of Samoa to study climate change.
Samoa is the first country from the Pacific - aside from Fiji – that the team has visited.
“We are here as part of our marketing trip and our outreach program encouraging more potential people from the region to study climate change,” said the Communication Officer from PaCe-SD, Sarika Chand.
Ms. Chand said that the Director of PaCe-SD, Professor Elisabeth Holland realized that there was a “need” for more students from the region to study climate change.
“We have a healthy intake of students for our courses, but most of the students we have are from Fiji,” Sarika said. “Therefore, we decided to come to Samoa to promote our courses and encourage people to study climate change.”
Ms. Chand said the courses don’t just target people who have just finished their Bachelor Degrees.
“We are also interested in bringing in the people who have been working at environmental institutes, because we feel that they are the best people to bring in for they are well-experienced.”
The drive to extend their program and travel around the Pacific to promote the courses was behind the idea that the “regional students could go back to their countries and be advocates for climate change and implement the ways and the things they learn from our courses to their own countries.”
“Also they are the future of our islands and nations, if we educate them now; they will be well-equipped to lead our islands in the future.”
Moreover, Sarika believes that the Pacific people are “the perfect people to study climate change.”
“This is because of their traditional knowledge of the environment, and how easy it would be for them to communicate with the local communities.”
The courses focus mainly on researching and studying the most vulnerable areas in the Pacific and working with the students in finding ways or solutions which could help lessen the impacts of climate change.
So far, Sarika said they have had a lot of dedicated students who are passionate about finding ways to alleviate climate change from all around the Pacific.
“And we feel that we still need more regional students to stand up and help make a difference.”
“We have seen a lot of potential students who have shown interest to study climate change and we want to encourage more to take up the challenge.”
The Post-Graduate Officer from PaCE-SD, Filipe Veisa also wanted to encourage more young people to “stand up and take the lead in fighting against climate change.”
“We are the face of climate change,” he said.
“Therefore we need to work together and we do encourage more people to come on board and study climate so that they can go back and be a useful resource to their communities.”
“Studying and doing research on climate change is a step closer to finding its solution,” Filipe said. “And I urge the youths to take the courses and be responsible, we are the future and let’s prepare ourselves to be leaders of our nation.”
The team invites more people who are interested to fill up forms to study climate change, and today they are hosting an information session in Savai’i.
On Friday, they will deliver a presentation for M.N.R.E and M.E.S.C, and on Saturday they will be setting up a booth in front of the government building, open to the public.
They are expected to visit Tonga or Vanuatu next. They return to Fiji on Monday.