WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Climate Change is Here: The Pacific Island Story

WelCom October 2016:

Diocesan News

Palmerston North’s Regional Interfaith group is hosting a community forum on Saturday 15 October about the devastating impacts of cyclones, storm surges, floods, rising sea levels, and dying crops – events resulting in Pacific Island people losing their homelands. Titled ‘Climate Change is Here!: The Pacific Island Story’ – the forum is at the Palmerston North Catholic Diocesan Centre, 33 Amesbury St, from 9.30am to 4pm. All are welcome.

The forum follows last year’s ‘Sharing Care of the Earth: Science – Faith – Action’ – an information-packed event organised by the interfaith group at Massey University in August.

This year’s keynote speakers include: Dr Pala Molisa of Victoria University, who will discuss how the impact of climate change is linked with poverty. Dr Pala spoke at the Pacific Island Climate Change conference at Victoria University in February where a clear message was New Zealand, as a leading Pacific Island nation, is not doing enough to respond to ongoing climate-related issues in the Pacific region. Brent Barrett, agricultural scientist, environment advocate and Green Party local-body candidate, will talk about how politics can deliver effective climate-change action in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Hannah Higgison of the Youth Action Group Manawatu will discuss how youth action can help prevent future catastrophes.

The impact of climate-change events increasingly experienced by many of our Pacific Island neighbours will be highlighted. New Zealand, and communities like Palmerston North, will be called on more to help protect and rebuild Pacific Island communities and to provide refuge for those forced to abandon their homelands.

Personal experiences from friends and family living in different Pacific Island nations will give a picture of what needs to be done. Local leader, Ivor Kaisami, will describe his experiences over 23 years living and working in Tuvalu, Kiribati, Fiji and the Marshall Islands.

‘We chose this environmental topic because it is the most important moral and spiritual issue facing the human family today,’ says Mary Eastham, interfaith-group member and parishioner in the Palmerston North Diocese. ‘We are all in this together. Everyone is invited to come and share stories and plan action. People from all faith traditions can join forces to work together in the interests of our planet Earth, our children and grandchildren and our neighbouring and developing countries.’

Please email Bob Skipp at bob_skipp@xtra.co.nz or Mary Eastham at maeastham23@gmail.com for more information. Lunch will be provided and a koha is welcome.

On Monday 7 November the interfaith group has organised a multi-faith prayer service about Mercy. It will be at Palmerston North Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, 7pm‒9pm. Please email maeastham23@gmail.com for more information.