“My name is Ursula Rakova. I come from Papua New Guinea, but I was born on the Carteret Islands in the Southwestern Pacific. My elders and my community have given me a huge task, to tell the world what is happening on my island and what climate change is doing to destroy our lives. My work involves organizing our people and moving them from the island to the mainland where we need to re-locate to safe and secure ground. We are being forced from our ancient island homeland to the mainland of Bougainville Province in Papua New Guinea where we must start new lives and find sustainable means to produce our food and survive.
I want to make sure that my people have a future life for generations to come. I would say to people who believe that climate change is not happening, if you have the heart to feel that you are flesh and blood, start to think about us on the island. What is a choice of lifestyle for you is a choice of life or death for us. I do not think you need to question whether this is climate change or not. You should be able to put yourself in our shoes, and maybe travel to our islands; we invite you to come and see for yourselves.”
Ursula Rakova is the Executive Director of Tulele Peisa — “sailing the waves on our own” — a local community organization in Papua New Guinea that is trying to relocate the entire island community of the Carterets to nearby Bougainville because of the impacts of climate change. www.tulelepeisa.org