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Pacific Island Artists Demand Governments Fulfill 1.5°C Promises In Film Series “Fighting For Our Survival”

Ahead of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, artists from the Pacific islands call for the international community to urgently defund the fossil fuel industry amidst the dual crises of climate change and COVID-19.

The three-part film series, “Fighting for Our Survival”, is produced by youth-led grassroots climate network 350 Pacific Climate Warriors, the Climate Vulnerable Forum and award-winning Fijian filmmaker Ropate Kama. It tells a story of climate injustice: the carbon pollution from industrialized nations which disproportionately affects frontline communities, and the rising of Pacific leadership and resilience.

Featuring poet and United Nations Climate Envoy for the Marshall Islands Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Tongan singer-songwriter Mia Kami, poet Frances C. Koya Vaka'uta also known as 1angrynative, and MATA, a Fijian dance crew, the film is an emotionally-charged appeal to governments and financial institutions globally.

The Pacific message is clear: Politicians must defund the fossil fuel industry to limit the warming of the earth to 1.5°C — so that nations on the frontlines of climate change can continue to survive.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in response to 350 Pacific Climate Warriors, has stated that “we need to stop fossil fuel subsidies.” Yet, in the past three years, G20 countries have given $584 billion annually to support the production and consumption of fossil fuels, the largest carbon emissions source.

“As sea level rises, so do our Pacific voices. Although the COP26 negotiations were canceled this year due to the pandemic, the climate emergency has not subsided. It’s been five years since the Paris Agreement, yet governments are still funding fossil fuels instead of trying to meet their climate goals. This needs to change now before we run out of time. As Pacific people, we will continue to raise our voices on the global stage as long as the 1.5°C goal is not met, ” said Alisi Rabukawaqa-Nacewa, Council of Elder for the 350 Pacific Climate Warriors.

Fighting for Our Survival will be launched in three parts, from 10 to 12 Dec 2020, 7PM Fiji Time (GMT+12), on https://350.org/survivalfilm.

Ropate Kama, co-owner of Kama Catch Me, an award-winning videography collective:

“Using my filmmaking skills to tell the stories of the Pacific is my way of fighting for our home. As an indigenous Fijian, I want to support the movement to ensure a livable future.”

Frances C Koya Vaka'uta (1angrynative), Poet, Fiji/Samoa, Associate Professor and Director of the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific:

“Climate change is already affecting our oceans and our land — which we as Pacific peoples are inextricably linked to – ecologically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Through my art, I am calling for action, for governments to hear our Pacific voices, just as they did five years ago when the 1.5°C global goal was set. They must defund the fossil fuel industry before it’s too late for everyone.”

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Poet and United Nations Climate Envoy for the Marshall Islands:

“I wrote this poem because I felt moved by the work I’ve witnessed from our climate team here on the ground and abroad. Despite all of the challenges and barriers, Pacific islanders are doing everything we can in the climate realm to protect our islands. We are already experiencing climate change - it is not an event far in the future, such as most net-zero pledges are. It is now and here. Whatever the public discourse and debate are, the fact is we are short on time. Governments and financial institutions must act for a just, fair transition to renewable energy — not just for the Pacific, but for their people too.”

Mia Kami, Musician, Tonga:

“The international community for too long has portrayed Pacific islanders as victims. Sea level rise threatens to swallow our islands. But others who have not walked in our shoes, though well-intentioned, sometimes drown out our voices. Through my lyrics, I want to remind everyone that Pacific islanders are resilient and strong. We are not victims waiting to be saved; we are on the frontlines of climate change, fighting for our future.”

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