Working to save our home

By Ilia L Likou 24 December 2017, 12:00AM

Caritas Samoa has launched a climate change booklet called “Turning the tide: Caritas State of the Environment for Oceania 2017 Report”. 

According to one of the writers, Karen Anaya, the report is much more than scientific data.

“It’s more than numbers and figures.” Ms. Anaya said.

She added it also reflects the sufferings of men, women and children alike. 

“This report is one voice calling out to save our common home,” She said. “It takes big words and concepts like climate change and global warming and turns them into villages, into communities, into families.” 

“It takes you through histories, experiences and memories and it brings you to reality, a reality that has affected many around the world and continues to displace communities in small island counties like Samoa.” 

“I have been living in the village of Solosolo for a year now and it has been one of the best ones of my life.” 

“I live surrounded by the beauty of nature and it’s hard for me to think that one day it was even more beautiful, but it was.” 

“I’ve heard stories of the most beautiful black sand beach known as one of the best surf spots in the country.” 

“Meters of rich sand and no seawall, kids taking their mothers’ washing boards and using them as surf boards, houses along the coast overlooking the beach, sea turtles nesting eggs and a diverse sea life.” 

Cyclones, sea level rise, erosion, water acidification, and sand mining have stolen that, she added.

“Today, I go to a beach only visible at the lowest tide and set my bag on rocks about two meters from the water,” Ms. Anaya said. 

“In my time here, the beach has lost over half a meter and it scares me to think it might be completely gone by the time I leave Samoa.” 

“Today, waves crash upon a sea wall and during high tide and storms; I’ve seen water go over it flooding kitchens and houses.” 

“Today, I live in a house that was built out of necessity since my family’s previous home along the coast got flooded so often that relocation was an option.” 

“These changes haven’t happened over centuries; we’re talking about 40 to 50 years ago. So if temperatures and sea level are expected to continue to rise, cyclones are expected to intensify, and water is expected to acidify, don’t you think we should do something?”

“Shouldn’t we take a stand against sand mining, which is our single best protection against wave damage?” 

“People don’t realize sand doesn’t appear overnight and continue to take truck loads for cement blocks. Shouldn’t we adopt renewable energy initiatives to stop releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere?”

“Shouldn’t we stop burning rubbish and start recycling and composting.”

Writing about sea level rise in Solosolo was a humbling experience that allowed her to see how blessed we are to have this planet and all its beauty.

“But it was also eye opening as it allowed me to see how dangerous it can be if we do not protect it or worse, if we continue to damage it,” Ms. Anaya added. 

“I encourage you to read this report, listen to what people are going through, and imagine a future with no action.” 

“Hopefully that will inspire you to take a stand in your community and protect the environment for our future generations.”

Ms. Anaya also thanked the Caritas Samoa team, Monica Sio, Fuatino Muliagatele Ah Wai, and Rosa Mataeliga for allowing her to contribute to their initiatives. 

Caritas Samoa Country Director Monica Sio expressed their sincere appreciation to all the people and communities who featured in this year’s State of Environment for Oceania Report – photos, stories and other contributions. 

She also acknowledged some of their writers and researchers, Ms. Anaya and Fotuitaua Kerslake for the work contributed for the Report.

“Especially to Caritas Family, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Caritas Tonga, Caritas Samoa, Caritas Papua New Guinea and Caritas Australia, thanked you for all your contribution.”

By Ilia L Likou 24 December 2017, 12:00AM

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