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Carbon offsetting Canberra and the Pacific Games.

It is hard trying to continuously raise the red flag on the effects of Climate Change in the Pacific Islands, when the region’s biggest economy and largest emitter of greenhouse gases Australia, re-elected a Liberal Party-led conservative government that continues to downplay the impact of this human-induced weather phenomenon.In fact re-elected Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a paltry record when it comes to Climate Change, he has been part of a Liberal Party-led coalition government where greenhouse gas emissions have risen consecutively over four years! But hey the Australian people have spoken and who are we to question the election results of a foreign land, who had a former prime minister who laughed off the impact of Climate Change in the Pacific Islands, and a former environment minister who sarcastically asked the former president of Kiribati Anote Tong if he was in Canberra for her “cheque book”.As Pacific Islanders, we are a resilient people who navigated the great expanse of the Pacific using the stars, and have cultures that go back a millennia. There is no need for a “big brother” to champion our cause, when for thousands of years we have set sail in our canoes, the future often unbeknown to us but the destination as clear as day.Therefore, the decision of the Samoa Government to embrace and promote “greening the Pacific Games”, has to be a master stroke. If we cannot get the conservative Australian government on board our Climate Change canoe, at least we can get their athletes to plant trees in Australia before they travel to Samoa in July. All 2019 Pacific Games participating nations have been asked offset their air travel emissions by planting trees. Teams New Zealand and PNG have done that and we look forward to seeing Australia and the other participating nations and territories following suit.But what exactly is the host of this year’s Pacific Games talking about when it is urging athletes to offset their “air travel emissions” by planting trees in their home countries before travelling?The Cambridge Dictionary dictionary defines carbon offset as the activity of trying to stop the damage caused by activities that produce carbon, by doing other things to reduce it, such as planting trees. In other words, carbon offsetting is the process of making compensation for greenhouse gas emissions, that is Pacific Games athletes can offset the amount of carbon their travel to Samoa emits by planting trees.The gesture could be seen as symbolic and insignificant in the Climate Change debate, but when you have between 3000-4000 athletes and sports officials all converging on a single destination from different parts of the Pacific Islands, then the emission levels become significant. And not forgetting the impact of 24 participating nations and territories simultaneously planting trees in their home countries and territories before flying to Samoa.The Samoa Government is determined to make the 2019 Pacific Games the region’s first ever “green and plastic-free” sporting event. In April this year, the Pacific Games Office (PGO) agreed to work with the Samoa Government’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), towards achieving that goal.SPREP director Leota Kosi Latu said greening the Pacific Games and making it plastic-free was a very important regional initiative, and is an opportunity for both Samoa and the Pacific to show how the environment can be better managed. "I think it’s been a major challenge for Samoa given the small time that Samoa has agreed to host the Pacific Games and our sub-committee is very pleased and very happy we can be part of this very important regional initiative. "We are confident that through the greening of the Games that there will be important lessons learnt that we can pass on to other sporting events like this."But this is an opportunity not for Samoa but for the region to demonstrate that we here in the Pacific can have Games that will enable better management of the impact on the environment," he said. It is an ambitious initiative, especially for a Government that only took on the role of playing host to the region’s top sporting event 18 months ago, but is achievable. And the Samoa Government has taken a major step towards ticking that box, by implementing a nationwide ban on plastic straws and single-use plastic bags which went into effect on January 30 this year. With the Pacific Games now 45 days away, we have to up the ante by doing our bit to tick the boxes to make the sporting event green and plastic-free. This Saturday May 25 you have the chance to contribute to the cause by joining volunteers to undertake a town-wide river clean-up starting from 6.30am to midday. The Pacific Games Office,  Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), will coordinate the exercise in targeted areas. The organisers need at least a thousand volunteers for the town-wide clean-up. Volunteers should gather at at Malaefatu Park at 6.30am for team leaders to provide safety instructions and divide people into groups, and there will be barbeque and a social event from 11.00am to thank the volunteers. Let us be the change we want to be. Have a lovely Thursday Samoa and God bless. 

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Street Talk

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Members of the public have their say on question of street addresses

Things have changed in Samoa and everything should change. Having a street address will make things easy for people when receiving mail, instead of going to the Samoa Post Office and making people like myself waste money travelling. As we know our country is developing, street address should be introduced. Another benefit is that people will easily find their relatives' addresses.In my view, having a street address is a great idea because it saves us time and money. Using a mailbox for our mail, which can be delivered to our street address is good, and it also creates employment opportunities for those seeking jobs.It is a great idea to have a street address for our homes, people don't get to spend money coming from home to the Post office just to get the mail, and go back home. I prefer having a mailbox in front of the house when the street addresses are set because it will be easier for me to get the mail and to be located. Well having a street is a great benefit for the people who live far from town because they have to come all the way from there village to town to get their mails and then back home. And they will spend money and waste time to travel far just to pick up a mail from the post office. Having a mail box or street address will help them save money and time they spend on travelling from their village to town. Another benefit is employment opportunities for people who are seeking for jobs such as a delivery man.I totally agree with having a mail box in every Samoan houses because it will help locals to receive their mails on time and knowing where the mail must go to, and not having the problem of waiting for a long time for mail to arrive. Furthermore, having the whole day waiting in a long line just to get a mail can be solved with having a mail box, and not have to go back and forth everyday to check if the mail has arrived or not.Well I totally agree that Samoa should have street addresses because it will make things easier to find, where our relatives live, and solves the confusion about locations. For example, like having members of the family living in Apia, but Apia is a big place, so having the street address will it make it easy to find them. On the other hand, having a mail box or street address is fast to locate where the mail is sent to, and the person who is going to receive the mail.

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Letter to Editor

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U.S. Ambassador tries but no one is fooled

The photo in Wednesday’s Samoa Observer of the American Ambassador and his good lady with Imam Laulu Mohammed Stanley is very touching. Such fake empathy and compassion! If Ambassador Brown is truly sympathetic about what happened to the Muslim community in Christchurch, why not do something real like telling his boss in the White House and his former employers at Fox News to stop demonizing the Muslims with lies and fake news? And while you’re at it by the way, do the same with the evangelical so-called Christians of America.Because when you have such power over how people think and behave, you can’t go on preaching hate against other peoples and then not expect your followers and admirers somewhere to act on it. Words have consequences, the more so when they come from leaders. And what good is wearing a hijab in Samoa other than to take people here for fools, and to copycat the incomparable Ms. Ardern? The big difference is that Ms. Ardern wore the signature Muslim women dress with panache, compassion and most importantly sincerity. The whole world saw that in her, and with the exception of you know where, applauded. She also backed it up immediately afterwards with concrete action.  So please don’t add insult to injury and desecrate the hijab.  Your current employer in the White House and former employer at Fake News continue to empower killers like what’s his name in the Christchurch massacre. Wearing the hijab at this time is nothing but hypocrisy of the highest order and fools no one here. E le valea uma ValeGasa Lefa T. Vailima

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