Seeds of Hope: Caritas State of the Environment Report 2019

28 Nov 2019   |   Blog

Tags:  Oceania, climate action, climate change, Papua New Guinea, Samoa   |   No comments

The State of the Environment for Oceania Report 2019 has been released by Caritas Australia. It’s a collaborative production between Caritas Australia’s sister agencies in Oceania, Aotearoa New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea. The stories woven throughout the report, amplify voices of youth, scientists, Indigenous people and those close to the land. As the climate emergency in Oceania escalates, Caritas is calling for urgent, coordinated climate action.



Teruabine Anna Nuariki from Kiribati Climate Action Network. Credit: Caritas Australia

Teruabine Anna Nuariki from Kiribati Climate Action Network. Credit: Caritas Australia

Climate change is one of the greatest injustices of our time. The World Bank estimates that. without urgent action, climate impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030. The evidence continues to show Oceanic communities losing land, homes and livelihoods from climate change, even though they’ve done the least to cause it.

The current report addresses five serious climate change issues having the severest consequences on developing nations. They are extreme weather, environmental impacts on food and water, coastal erosion, coastal flooding & sea level rise, offshore mining & drilling and climate finance.


Planting mangroves in Kiribati provides a natural storm surge barrier. Credit: Caritas Australia
Planting mangroves in Kiribati provides a natural storm surge barrier. Credit: Caritas Australia

In 2018/2019 we found that:

  • Extreme weather events during 2018/2019 had a severe impact, on Oceanic communities; Super Cyclone Yutu in Micronesia destroyed 500 home and flooding in the Solomon Islands displaced 24,0000.
  • Coastal erosion caused by cyclones and progressive sea level rise are causing havoc for coastal communities in Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and PNG.
  • Seabed mining and exploration needs further investigation and should be stopped.
  • Climate finance is woefully inadequate and must be increased.

The planet continues to face complex environmental challenges and the impact of climate change is causing havoc for our Oceania community. Unfortunately, the response to this issue has come at significant risk to the safety, security and livelihoods of these people.

Planting seeds of hope in Samoa. Credit: Karen Anaya
Planting seeds of hope in Samoa. Credit: Karen Anaya

Now is the time for an integrated and holistic approach to protect our fragile environment and those that inhabit the earth. If we don’t confront climate change, we won’t end poverty.

This year Caritas has released three videos ‘Oceania Voices’ from PNG, Fiji and Tonga speaking on the serious impacts of climate change on their food and livelihood. These stories are available here: https://caritas.org.nz/state-environment

Daniel Nour is a Content Specialist at Caritas Australia.

References: 
World Bank: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/overview


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