A Just Climate Message Reaches Parliament House

19 Sep 2011   |   Blog   |   Supporter action   |   A Just Climate   |   Environment Climate Justice DRR   |   Kiribati

Caritas Australia campaigners with Greg Combet

This morning Caritas Australia’s Campaigns Coordinator Alexandra Engel and Kateia Kaikai of the Pacific Calling Partnership, met with Climate Change Minister Greg Combet to present him with A Just Climate petition signatures collected from all around Australia.

Alexandra and Kateia discussed with Minister Combet the main 'asks' of the campaign.

‘We thanked the Minister for the steps the Government has already taken, and reinforced our view that the world’s poorest must be at the heart of the conversation about climate change in Australia,’ says Alexandra.

‘It is the poorest and most marginalised communities, such as Kiribati, where Kateia comes from, who will be hit hardest by climate change, so we must ensure Australia takes a leadership role in assisting developing countries to fight poverty and develop in sustainable ways’.

Kateia, who arrived from Kiribati just three months ago, shared her personal story with the Minister.

‘I have seen the damage that sea water intrusion and changes in weather has already had on people’s crops and livelihoods in my country,’ Kateia said, ‘and this has many impacts, including some you wouldn’t easily see at first’.

‘When people’s usual source of income, for example coconuts, fails because of the changes in climate, then they must find others ways to earn money...I have seen some young women who need to enter prostitution with passing fishing boats so that they can support their families, because they have no other way to earn the income and become desperate’.

Kiribati is a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean and is one of the world’s poorest countries. With most of Kiribati less than 3m above sea level, even marginal increases in sea levels will be disastrous. The World Bank's report Cities, Seas & Storms: Managing Change in the Pacific Islands Economies points to additional concerns in the region, such as degradation of coastal ecosystems and increased vulnerability as a result of more extreme and unpredictable weather patterns.

To get involved in the A Just Climate campaign or to learn more about how Caritas Australia is standing in solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable communities, visit www.caritas.org.au/act/ajustclimate.

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