May 3, 2017 - Raise a Paddle: Resistance from the Pacific Islands to the Tar Sands

In 2014, a group of Pacific Islanders led a blockade of the world’s largest coal port in Australia. Now, these Pacific Climate Warriors are headed to the Canadian tar sands.

Justin Trudeau’s recently approved pipelines will unleash catastrophic climate change — for Pacific islanders this means rising sea levels threatening their homes, communities, and cultures. These pipelines clearly go against the promises Trudeau made to climate impacted communities and Indigenous peoples on the world stage.

That’s why the Pacific Climate Warriors are inviting Trudeau to join them in Vancouver to explain his broken promises. The Warriors are also calling on people everywhere to stand with them, and stand with Indigenous peoples in Canada, to keep the tar sands in the ground.

Who are the Pacific Climate Warriors?

Responding to world leaders inaction on climate change, a network of young Pacific Islanders began to rise peacefully to protect the Pacific Islands from climate change. Since then, their simple and immensely powerful message has commanded attention globally: we are not drowning; we are fighting.

Active in 15 of the Pacific Island Nations, they stand up to those blocking action on climate change and empower young people to take action to protect their communities, cultures, and Island homes.

The delegation of Pacific Climate Warriors traveling to Canada:

Koreti Tiumalu

Koreti Tiumalu is a Samoan climate activist who was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. Koreti is the Pacific Region Coordinator for and works with the Pacific Climate Warriors. One of the key objectives of in the Pacific is to find new and innovative ways to raise global awareness of climate realities experienced in the islands that are uniquely Pacific and to engage local communities impacted directly by climate change. Koreti was a part of the blockade of the Newcastle coal port in Australia, and a three-day prayer vigil using fine mats at the Vatican in Rome in October 2015.

Raedena Savea

Raedena Savea is a Samoan climate activist. She was born in American Samoa but was raised in Apia, Samoa. Raedena is an active member of the Siusega Methodist Church, the YWCA Samoa and Leadership Samoa. She mentions that she is constantly inspired by her mother and does everything that she can to protect her family and her island home.

Why are the Pacific Climate Warriors coming to Canada?

The Pacific Climate Warriors are visiting Canada to meet and build solidarity with Indigenous Peoples in Canada fighting tar sands expansion. And to bring their message and story to the Canadian government and people.

Climate change is happening here and now, perhaps nowhere more directly than Pacific Islands like Kiribati, Tuvalu the Marshall Islands and so many more. At the UN climate talks in Paris, the Trudeau government championed the call of Pacific Island nations to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Expanding the tar sands, by building pipelines like Kinder Morgan, deliberately goes against this commitment and condemns people living in the Pacific to rising seas and uninhabitable islands. It also goes against the commitments that Prime Minister Trudeau has made to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples — he is building these pipelines despite resistance from First Nations.

Where are the Pacific Climate Warriors going and when?

This delegation of Pacific Warriors will travel to the Alberta tar sands and to the Indigenous communities on the frontlines of the fight to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The tour will include cultural exchanges, shared ceremony and public events. Their hope is that at the end of their journey, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will join them for a water ceremony in Vancouver and speak with them about the promises his government has broken.

For the latest on this journey — including live coverage — follow @350Canada on twitter or like us on facebook. Sign up to support this campaign and we will e-mail you updates.

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Last Real Indians