The Pacific Ocean viewed from Woodlark Island in Papua New Guinea, the station of the PIME Missionaries’
first martyr, Blessed John Mazzucconi.
Produced with the collaboration of colleagues from Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. New Zealand researchers did not limit themselves to analyzing any studies carried out on the subject. Although they were not always distant from the interests of multinationals and governments aimed at the exploitation of resources; they collected the experiences and voices of the people in the most remote coasts and villages. They collected that of farmers and fishermen, of traditional cultural groups, of cyclone victims and of unexpected frosts, of social and pastoral workers, and of NGO’s active in these communities.
A young Papuan boy harvests a spring onion. Today’s children are likely to suffer the most as a
result of the climate changes to the island nations of the Pacific.
The condition and the future of the weakest subjects are the first concern of the interventions and the campaigns, the disabled, women and young people. The instrument of interpretation and of decision-making concerning this reality is dialogue. “Talanoa” a term widely used in the Pacific, means community discussion and discernment, an honest confrontation in order to build better relations and mutual understanding. The future of the environment in the Pacific also depends on the behavior of the communities that live there and on political leaders, not just on the action of international organizations and companies.
The drawback is not exclusively economic, and the psychological trauma is not solely from the difficulty of adapting to a new environment and to new neighborhoods. In the Pacific, ancestral land is everything: it is part of physical and spiritual life; losing ancestral land is like losing a significant part of the body. Land can never be bought or sold as it is in the West. The earth can only be given in temporary and respectful use, following a precise agreement between the two parties; it can never permanently change hands from ancestral caretakers to new owners. It is difficult and painful to see the ground of their ancestors disappear under salty, ocean waters. Just as difficult and uncertain, as it is to have to live in a place that belongs to others, and will never be theirs. If climate change and the rise of the seas in the Pacific are due to human activities, few are aware of the suffering that this behavior produces in the coastal communities of the Pacific.
A financial commitment to the environment compatible with the United Nations sustainable development programs is needed, specifically: support for women, girls and disabled people affected by production processes and related climate changes.