Youth in the south Pacific have a voice on climate change in their communities

Pictorial banners created by the youth from islands of the South Pacific are focusing on the effects of climate change in their lives. Portraits of Resilience is a photography project that works with youth and schools to document the effects of climate change in their local communities in both the Arctic and the Small Island Developing States.

An exhibition of these photos and stories opened at the Fiji Museum today.

Christine Germano, one of the professional photographers leading the project, has been working for the last few months in the islands of the south Pacific, seeking stories from young people from Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Samoa and Fiji. 

And the stories and photos say for themselves the changes that occuring in these vulnerable islands.

Justin Hickes and Valerie Chute from the Suva Christian Community School in Fiji, talks of a waterlogged cemetery:

"The shoreline extended more than 150 meters out towards the open sea until 1995 when the sea level started rising covering everything in its path and causing families to move inland. A cemetery, which is now part of the ocean, is evidence of sea level rise..'

'All the graves now lie submerged in the ocean at high tide and at low tide they are exposed all topsy-turvy and covered in barnacles....'

'Foreigners and environmentalists have been monitoring the rise of the sea level and the rapid erosion of the land in Togoru but so far nothing has been done to fix this problem."

Portraits of Resilience in the local media

The Fiji Times announces the launch of the photography exhibit at the Fiji Museum

Besides working in the south Pacific, Portraits has worked with Arctic communities across Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Norway. The project is part of the Many Strong Voices programme which links people in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States who are confronting climate change. Visit the online gallery.

Article photo credit: Justin Hickes/Valerie Chute