"We are not drowning, we are fighting": Brianna Fruean tells world leaders

By Marc Membrere 02 November 2021, 2:57PM

Samoan climate activist Brianna Fruean, in an address at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) on Monday, said Pacific youth are not victims of the climate crisis but “resilient beacons of hope”.


The young Samoan told world leaders at the Conference of the Parties or COP26 in Glasgow that the youth in the region “are not drowning but are fighting.”

"When I was a little girl, I was taught the importance and impact of words. In my culture in Samoa there's a proverb that goes 'E pala ma'a ae le pala upu', it means that even stones decay but words remain," Ms. Fruean said.

"A lesson in knowing how words can be wielded, how text can change everything, how each word you use is weighted. 

“How switching one word or number could reframe worlds, how climate action can be vastly different from climate justice, how two degrees could mean the end and 1.5 could mean a fighting chance.

"You all have the power here today to be better to remember that in your meeting rooms and drafting documents are more than just black and white objects to remember that in your words you wield the weapons that can save us or sell us out.

"I don't need to remind you of the reality of vulnerable communities. If you're here today you know what climate change is doing to us. 

“You don't need my pain or my tears to know that we're in a crisis."

In attendance at the conference were world leaders such as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. President Joseph Biden, Prince Charles, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutterres and British environmentalist and documentary-maker Sir David Attenborough.

According to Ms Fruean, the real question is whether people have the political will to do the right thing to address the climate crisis.

"To wield the right words and to follow it up with long-overdue action. If you're looking for inspiration on this, look no further than the climate leadership of young Pacific people. 

“We are not just victims to this crisis, we have been resilient beacons of hope. 

“Pacific youth have rallied behind the cry, we are not drowning, we are fighting.

"This is our warrior cry to the world, we are not drowning, we are fighting. 

“This is my message from earth to COP. I hope you remember my words today and look closely at your words as you go throughout COP because 'E pala ma'a ae le pala upu'."

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Climate Change
By Marc Membrere 02 November 2021, 2:57PM
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