Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change

By Sabrina Habu


Introduction

Pacific Islander youths are the leading climate change activists in the world, despite having done little to spark it. Pacific Legal Network (PLN) has worked on a bunch of matters that are climate positive as well as adaptation programs, including a waste to energy power plant in Fiji and a digital payment solution for NGOs sending aid in the wake of climate induced disasters. As such, PLN is very interested in the work of the youths running the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC).


PLN is fortunate enough to have had the pleasure of interviewing the President of PISFCC, Caleb Pollard, a recent graduate from the University of the South Pacific (USP). Caleb graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce with a Certificate in Education, majoring in Geography and Economics and is extremely passionate about educating people about both the effects of climate change and the importance of including it in the school curriculums.


To coincide with Earth Day, PISFCC have released a music video “The Islands are Calling”. The video seeks to raise the voice of the youth calling for action against the climate crisis while showing the wonders of Pacific life, heritage, art, nature, culture and tradition which are all sadly under threat by the climate crisis.


Q. How did PISFCC first form?


A. In 2019, twenty-seven USP Law students from eight Pacific Island countries decided to launch a campaign with the aim of persuading Pacific Island Forum leaders to take climate change and human rights issues to the International Courts of Justice. PISFCC has grown from 27 members to now having members from every Pacific Island nation, representing all age groups from primary school students to high school students, with the majority being university students.


Q. What made you personally join the organisation?


A. With my bachelors degree, I have a background in education and my aim in joining this organisation is to get Solomon Islands education system to reflect the realities of Climate Change that students are currently facing in the Pacific. What teachers teach in the classroom is totally different to what is happening outside of it, thus my goal is to create an education system that is relevant and fits the context of what we are facing right now.


Q. What was the motivation behind the launch of the Music Video?


A. The aim of the music video is really to share the story of the impacts of Climate Change but also to inspire the youths to take action too…. Show society that we are suffering and paint the picture that we are fighting to make changes.


The music video is created with the hopes of educating people through different mediums. Learning about climate change does not necessarily need to be from a book or paper, it can be from a fun video too. People love listening to music and youths do it subconsciously while studying and even when trying to fall asleep. The music video is also a way we can showcase our campaigns, additionally, campaigning for something as serious as climate change does not necessarily need to be in a 50-page document. Lastly, it also showcases the young talents that we have in the Organisation and across the Pacific.


Q. What Campaigns is PISFCC involved in?


A. PISFCC has a website where we post about our Campaigns and ones that we are actively participating in. Currently we are seeking an advisory opinion on human rights and climate change from the International Court of Justice. The second Campaign that we are running is to educate young people from all over the Pacific about Climate change and getting them to be involved with the association. Last but not the least, we are also an active member of the World’s Youth for Climate Justice (WYCJ), which is an umbrella organization that brings youth stakeholders together.


For more information about PISFCC, follow their social medias linked below and contact them via pisfcc@gmail.com.


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