Sharing climate stories: 'Afternoon Teas for Climate and Aid'

29 Jun 2016   |   Blog   |   Campaigns   |   Long-term Development

Tags:  Australian Aid, climate justice   |   No comments

In the weeks leading up to the federal election on July 2, a coalition of organisations brought local candidates and faith communities together over tea and cake to discuss the importance of climate justice and Australia’s aid budget.

The ‘Afternoon Teas for Climate and Aid’ were held in the Reid and Kingsford Smith electorates in Sydney. At each event, six young Pacific Islanders from Tuvalu, Kiribati and western Sydney spoke passionately about how climate change was threatening the livelihoods, culture and indeed the very existence of their communities in the Pacific.

Thanks to the Pacific Calling Partnership’s KATEP program, the Pacific Islanders spent a fortnight in Australia raising awareness of how climate change is affecting their communities and islands. At the afternoon teas they spoke of rising seas, increasing coastal erosion and intensity of storms, and problems with drinking water and crops. They appealed to Australia to show solidarity with its Pacific neighbours.

“I’m here because of my concern for my people’s future and my children’s future,” said Kuata Taumaheke of Tuvalu at the Kingsford Smith event.

“We don’t want to relocate. We want to stay in Tuvalu,” said Kuata.  “We were born there and raised there.” She ended her address by saying, “I’m here to ask all of you, please help us in Tuvalu to save our mother Earth.”

Bailey Koulapi, also of Tuvalu, said, “We love our land because our land is our heritage, it's our cultures, it's our identity.”  He shared his experience of a king tide, about how the water came up to his knees.

At the events, attendees heard the call for Australia to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and provide increased funding for global finance for communities affected by climate change. additional to the existing aid program. They also heard the call for Australia’s aid budget – cut by a staggering $11.3 billion over the last four years – to be restored.

You can hear directly from Kuata, Bailey and Kotei Temakai from Kiribati in this short video taken at the Reid event by Campaign for Australian Aid, hosted at the Edmund Rice Centre:

The events were coordinated by a coalition of Christian agencies, including the Pacific Calling Partnership, Caritas Australia, Uniting World, Micah Australia, who are committed to ending poverty and tackling climate change.  Our thanks go to St Brigid’s Catholic Parish in Coogee for hosting the Kingsford Smith event.

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