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Ecumenical Pacific youth - climate change

11 March 2004

Statement on climate change from ecumenical Pacific youth

Pacific churches' consultation on climate change
6-11 March, 2004
Tarawa, Kiribati

Our land and ocean is our life
Our land and ocean is our love
Our land and ocean is our faith
Our land and ocean is our hope for the future generations in the Pacific.
Through the unconditional love of God who spoke, the temotu, venua, fonua, fanu,fenua of the Pacific came into existence for our survival and pride. Our Land and Moana (ocean) have and will continue to refresh our souls and spirit.

Today our Pasifika is at risk. Climate change caused by human activities is threatening our cultural and geographical survival. While the countries of the Pacific contribute least to the causes of climate change, we will be among those most at risk from its impacts.

We, 23 young people, invited by the World Council of Churches and the Pacific Conference of Churches, met in Tarawa, Kiribati, from 3rd - 6th March 2004 in a consultation on Climate Change. The consultation was held in Kiribati, an island where the effects of climate change are evident. During our meeting we studied the consequences of climate change and what is happening on the various Pacific islands while also identifying ways of tackling its impacts.

We come from Kiribati, Nauru, French Polynesia, Niue, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, USA, Norway and Australia.

Oceania, the beautiful place we call home, has been handed down by our ancestors for many generations. The Bible tells us that after God created the earth everything was perfectly good. Today the creation is threatened by human pollution over the last 150 years. The burning of fossil fuels is the cause of global warming, leading to the rise in water level that is eating away our beautiful islands. During an exposure visit around Kiribati, we saw with our very own eyes how the rising sea level is increasingly eroding the land. This is evidence of how global warming is threatening life in the Pacific.

As caretakers of God's creation, and as churches, we have a responsibility for the Earth. The next generations deserve the right to know and enjoy the beauty of our Pasifika. This requires us to use energy more efficiently, switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and implementing conservation policies. The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stone, the oil age cannot continue until we are out of oil.

We have committed ourselves to:

  • Study further and share our knowledge with our youth groups, Churches and other organizations;
  • Establish networks so that we can share information, experiences and strategies;
  • Identify a day or week for worship, reflection and action on Gods creation and its beauty;
  • Collect existing and develop new resources on the theological basis of our climate work;
  • Live environmentally responsible. 

We cannot save the climate all by our selves because green house gasses knows no borders. All of us need to take responsibility, as individuals, youth groups, women and men, churches, organizations, and governments to combat climate change.

"Let us do together what we can do together.
What we think we cannot do together - together let us find the way to do it together."

We commend the governments in the Pacific for their work in advocating actions against climate change. But as young people we feel our future is at stake. We call upon the leaders of our countries to speak more firmly on this issue.

We therefore challenge:

  • Study further and share our knowledge with our youth groups, Churches and other organizations;
  • Establish networks so that we can share information, experiences and strategies;
  • Identify a day or week for worship, reflection and action on Gods creation and its beauty;
  • Collect existing and develop new resources on the theological basis of our climate work;
  • Live environmentally responsible.
  • Youth groups around the world to act in solidarity with the youth in the Pacific to promote actions against climate change.
  • Churches around the world to ecumenically speak up and act prophetically against the injustices of climate change.