The Impact of Climate Change in Vanuatu

Like our other Pacific neighbors, in Vanuatu we relish the good things in life. We love the oceans and the forests of our natural environment; we enjoy our local food; we are raised by our custom and respect our traditional way of living. We see things and do things in our island fashion, the way that our ancestors, our grandparents and our parents taught us. With respect for the land we live in, we take good care of our environment. With respect for our future generations, we preserve the resources our environment gives us.

The local basket symbolizes unity in most places in Vanuatu. Made with pandanus leaves and centuries of time-honed skill, our baskets are more than tools for storing and carrying food – they reflect the beauty of our mothers and sisters and they keep our local knowledge to be later shared with our children and grandchildren. Our baskets tell the story of our traditional relationship with our environment: the natural world provides us with what we need, and we sustain and enrich our lives with those resources, weaving our culture and stories in harmony with our environment.

We do not have the term “climate change” in our local language, but we are affected by it as people and as a nation. We do not have a lot of knowledge about climate change, but we can see the changes its bringing to our environment and our way of life. Disasters and droughts are taking away the pandanus, and plastic bags are replacing our baskets. The consequences of climate change are impacting our lives and our future.

Recognizing our common humanity lets us stand strong and with one voice demand the reduction in carbon emissions that drive the changing of our climate. We are the people of Vanuatu, we are citizens of this planet earth and we have the same right as others to live and enjoy our environment.