The Arctic is melting. Islands are disappearing. The President of Kiribati sails to the top of the world, to visit the rapidly shrinking ice that will soon swallow his nation.

President Anote Tong on a Greenpeace organized to the Arctic.  (AP Photo/Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund)
(Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund) Click to read ‘What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic’ by David Ritter – CEO Greenpeace Australia Pacific. 8th October 2014.

Anote Tong is a climate warrior fighting to make our Pacific voices heard. As the President of Kiribati he is preparing his people for the reality that they will soon have no place on earth to call home.

Sea levels are rising faster in the Central-West Pacific than almost anywhere else in the world, forcing the 100,000 people of the Islands of Kiribati to ready themselves for their homeland to disappear.

Kiribati is the “canary in the coalmine” as President Tong so tragically puts it. These islands are the front-line. But they can also be the line in the sand.

(Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund)
(Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund) Click to read ‘A leader, a polar bear, and the shock of recognition’ by Anote Tong – President of Kiribati. 30th September 2014.

In September, President Anote Tong ended a Greenpeace-led tour of glaciers in Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago. Like most people, President Tong had never been to the Arctic and the trip left him with a sobering understanding of the immense scale of the threat. President Tong delivered this sentiment for all of us, in front with world leaders at a U.N. Climate Summit later that week in New York.

 “It [climate change] is not a problem that individuals or any single nation can deal with. It is a problem that requires remarkable global leadership. And a lot of people will not react until their own world is under threat. But what I think they must understand is: our world is being threatened. We are the first on the front line. But they will be the next if nothing is done.

 What I would like people to be, is to be human beings. To be moral human beings and to be able to understand that what they do might be negative to those people on the other side of the world. And if they have the capacity then they have the obligation to do something about it.”    – President Anote Tong   [President Tong’s Greenpeace video and blog entry]

Before you convince yourself there is nothing that can be done … and that the fight is already over… Watch this video. It is going to take all of us. And it is going to take all of us now.

Matisse Walkden-Brown               …               Fiji Islands                …              12th  November 2014


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