The image on the cover of Rising Tides, Raising Voices shows coconut trees killed by the encroachment of sea water. Meanwhile the first words of the publication go to Tiiringatea, an I-Kiribati participant in the Pacific Calling Partnership’s climate leadership training program in 2014:
“The impact of climate change is very real in Kiribati. All people who live next to the sea are feeling scared because the seawater is rising and destroying their houses and food crops. They have their sea wall but it breaks with the big waves and then the sea goes inside their house. They can’t sleep so they go and find another place. The big waves broke the hospital at Betio and flooded it with sea water so the patients were moved to the sport complex while waiting for the hospital to be fixed. I am twenty years old, I love my country. I love and respect my culture. I don’t want to move to another country. Without my culture I am nothing. I have every right to stay in my country and Kiribati and practice my culture. A precious part of my culture is dancing. I love to perform my traditional dance because it is not just about entertaining people but it is also our way to show people that this culture is very important to us. Once again without my culture I am nothing.”
The Inter-Congregational Voice on Climate Change is made up of twenty-three Catholic Religious congregations working in solidarity with Pacific Island nations to address the injustice of climate change. It listens to and works with the Pacific communities on the front lines to bring their voices to the centre of climate change discourse. In doing so they are responding to both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
Rising Tides, Raising Voices is a beautifully presented 28-page document authored by Johanna Larkin from the Edmund Rice Centre. It brings together the voices of Pacific people, data about climate change, and a moral framework for a faithful response. Published by the Inter-Congregational Voice on Climate Change, it is a companion to the document Sisters See Their Homeland Threatened. In Sisters See Their Homeland Threatened the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary share some of the concerns, challenges and efforts to cope with climate change taking place in their island homes. They reflect on experiences in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Wallis, Solomon Islands and New Zealand.
Find out more about the Inter-Congregational Voice on Climate Change here.