Young People in the South Pacific Respond to Climate Change
On January 15, the underwater volcano erupted in Tonga, located in the central part of the South Pacific Ocean, causing damage to many countries. Since then, Mr. Nitin Raj, a member of ARUKA Fiji, which is a Fiji youth organization that is affiliated with the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), delivered a message as a global citizen living in the South Pacific.
“I am so sorry for the many people in Tonga that have been damaged by this volcanic eruption. Since Fiji is located near Tonga, Fiji has also been affected by volcanic ash, volcanic clouds. We, as human beings, can’t stop the natural disaster, but if it has something to do with climate changes, then we should work on stopping it.
It is going to be us who is damaged through our carelessness, and it is especially so for the youths who will lead the future. We all must pay attention to climate change and take actions so the youth will not be harmed by it.”
In line with his concerns, climate change is no longer a problem that pertains to specific regions. Last year, the youth from 55 countries who attended the IPYG’s youth discussion platform, Youth Empowerment Peace Workshop (YEPW), also expressed suffering from extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, heavy rain, droughts, and tropical cyclones.
There are many young people who are actively campaigning to prevent such climate change. Last year on January 31, youth leaders from South Pacific countries that are with the IPYG such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Tuvalu have started an online campaign called “World Peace Citizen.” People can participate in this campaign by posting comments regarding environmental protection or uploading photos or videos of recycling bottles, cans, vinyl, or plastics on their social media followed with #IPYG #WeAreheroes hashtags.