Indigenous peoples in the Pacific have found the great ocean of Kiwa, a spiritual &cultural home for thousands upon thousands of years. We lived in harmony with our environment and each other; we were self-sufficient and had 100% of our lands, Culture, custom and language. White supremacist, Capitalist Imperialism & genocide shattered that world for many Indigenous peoples in the Pacific last century.
We live with the repercussions of that history of genocide & dispossession every day. Colonisation in the Pacific continues in the models of development that are being sold through a masquerade of trade," governance & security, & market based ‘solutions’ to climate change.
Te Ata Tino Toa, (a collective of Maori activists) are looking forward to forging a strong collective understanding & response to the dual threats of neo liberalism & climate change in the Pacific on the Climate Caravan .
The Social & Climate Justice Caravan 2009 wants to link the protests against the WTO with the protests against the climate summit. Between 3rd and 9th December, 60 representatives from global movements from the South will drive two routes from Geneva to Copenhagen. The Western route goes through Paris and Brussels, the Eastern one through Freiburg, Frankfurt and Cologne, including a delegation to Berlin. The activists will meet p in Hamburg in order to drive together over the Danish border to Copenhagen. With public meetings, discussions and actions planned, the caravan wants to draw attention to the consequences of trade liberalisation and climate change on people in the global South. Through meetings and workshops, participants seek to establish networks with local activists and hope to mobilize as many people as possible to Copenhagen.
Te Ata Tino Toa are representative of the long tradition of struggle and resistance by Maori against colonisation and the Crown sponsored theft of Maori land and resources. Maori continue to resist the pressures of colonisation and cultural and economic genocide. Such a concept embraces the spiritual link Maori have with 'Papatuanuku' (Earthmother) and is a part of the international drive by indigenous peoples for self determination."
The Pacific, is facing huge stress & huge regional pressures. Climate change is a clear and present danger to the Pacific peoples, land, lives; culture & peoples are at risk. Climate change is no distant threat it is happening now. Rising sea levels are eating up the land of the islands, salination means more & more arable lands for cultivation become untenable. The human face of climate change in the Pacific, is heart breaking, land is the cornerstone of the heart of all Indigenous peoples.
For much of the past decade the Pacific Islands Countries have faced immense pressure from NZ & Australia, and aid donors to move towards trade liberalisation through new free trade agreements (FTAs).
Free trade agreements involving the region include the Pacific Islands Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, and the extension of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) with Australia and New Zealand to include deeper “economic integration”.
The move towards free trade is driven largely by the interests of business (exporters, service suppliers and potential new investors) based in the Pacific’s developed-country ‘partners’. Clothed in benevolent, paternal words, greed & racism lie at the heart of Pacer-Plus, pushing the western, neoliberal way of doing things on the Pacific.
Te Ata Tino Toa stand with all Indigenous peoples of the Pacific. Together we can ensure those most responsible for climate change are held responsible and those most affected by are supported. In the defence of land rights, & our collective responsibility to care for lands, forests, our oceans & peoples. Pacific peoples standing together for mother earth & for lives of dignity, and self determination.
“Indigenous peoples of the Pacific are deeply alarmed by the accelerating climate devastation brought about by unsustainable development, and we are experiencing profound and disproportionate adverse impacts on our Pacific cultures, human and environmental health, human rights, well-being, traditional livelihoods, food systems and food sovereignty, local infrastructure, economic viability and our very survival as Indigenous peoples.
Consumer nations must adequately address the issue of ecological debt to the global south and not shift liability for their own unsustainable production and consumption to those nations not responsible for the high level of climate emissions.
We demand that forests not be included in carbon trading schemes, and call on all governments to halt deforestation and keep fossil fuels in the ground; not trade one for the other. “ (Nukualofa Declaration)
Against all the odds, and the threats we face to our lands, our cultures, and our ways of life in the pacific, we have survived and we continue to resist. Evolutionary processes have taken their course in the Pacific and the time has come for us to reach out across the vast ocean that binds us to support each other’s struggles and to halt the annihilation that we as peoples are facing.
I will be live tweeting 27th Nov onwards http://twitter.com/uriohau #climatejustice #Pacific