PCW are active in 18 Pacific Island Nations and diaspora communities in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Literally and figuratively we use cultural representations of our Pacific Island homes as a unique approach to empowering our people and to educate our global family on the many intersections at which climate change affects us.
Every morning, we wake up and the ocean is there, surrounding our islands. But now the ocean, driven by climate change is creeping ever closer. Unless something changes, many of our Pacific Islands face losing everything to sea level rise.
Warriors of the Pacific are rising peacefully to protect the Pacific Islands from climate change, to protect our communities and cultures, our lands and our waters. Warriors are rising together to weave the days to come – rarangaa taai aika ana roko – to weave the days to come together for a just future.
The #JustRecovery Principles and PCW values rest on common themes of resilience, community, mana, solidarity, family and justice. Being part of the Pasifika family connects us across oceans and we express this foundational connection through this banner as an act of solidarity with our PCW families who are at the coalface of the climate crisis.
During this COVID-19 crisis, PCW has reimagined strategies for collective action and has gone back to our storytelling and artistic roots as a form of constructive organising. For the past three months, interconnectedness and family has been woven and strengthened with great care:
- In April, 350 Pacific ran Talanoa for Future, weekly gatherings to share, dissect and learn together – conversations shared through computer screens via invisible electronic waves.
- We partook in the ‘‘Pray for Pacific’ vigil on Easter weekend for Pacific communities dealing with the trauma and now recovery from the devastation of tropical cyclone Harold.
- On May 2nd, 350 Pacific started the first Pacific Pawa Up Fellowship. The fellowship will run until July 2020. The cohort features 50 aspiring warriors who came together to learn and share their stories, transforming their leadership and campaign work to adapt to these changing times. The fellowship has been a groundswell for PCW, nourishing our warriors and our appetite for action of climate change in a digital world.
PCW Kulin Nation (Melbourne) feels privileged to have been asked to collaborate with artist Tal Fitzpatrick as part of the Next Wave Festival, Signs of our Times project. Tal has a background in craftivism and, like PCW, believes in the power of art as political action and as a vessel for making change. We have loved working with Tal and feel that the PCW #JustRecovery banner she has created with us is not only lit but reflects the story of the many stories intertwined across the Pacific, woven together by shared experiences, shared appreciation of culture, a shared fight for justice and shared healing.
The tatau (double lines circling the centre) comes from the traditional tattoo designs of the people of Mungiki and Mungaba (Solomon Islands) and was originally inspired by the shell of a beetle which symbolises a protective shield. The shield holds the stories of our ancestors forming the foundation to our work and protecting us as we fight for a #JustRecovery. The scales are the scales of a fish and represent our connection to the ocean and to each other. The figures in the centre represent us, the weavers of today who weave the days to come together; to fight together; build a just future together: rarangaa taai aika ana roko.
We know that in the face of climate change, and now COVID-19, change is inevitable, however we cannot rebuild the structures that have oppressed us and commodified our lands and waters to this point of irreparable damage. #JustRecovery calls for not only change, but a framework that will create just and sustainable change.
“The land and the ocean does not change the course of a narrative but that of an orator. As people challenge and adapt through difficult times, we remain resilient in our duty as the original storytellers. Stories of our children will become that of our ancestors.” Florence Folole Tupuola, Coordinator, PCW Kulin Nation.
This is a time to be decisive in saving lives, cultures and livelihoods. All of this rests on our ability to protect our land, our water and our peoples. It is a time to be bold in charting a path to a genuinely healthier and more equitable future through a #JustRecovery and the end to disaster capitalism. Join us to create a just future together with your stories woven with ours – rarangaa taai aika ana roko.
- Sign the open letter petition for a #JustRecovery here
- Donate to Vanuatu Climate Action Network Cyclone Harold Relief recovery here:
- bank transfer at Bred Bank. Account name – GREEN WAVE VANUATU. Account number – 00696261010013. Swift code – BREDVUVU
- Follow on Facebook: Vanuatu Climate Action Network
- Hashtag: #GreenWaveVanuatu and #OxfamInVanuatu
- If you want to know more, or get involved, get in contact with Pacific Climate Warriors Melbourne: email@example.com