Hi, I'm Ruben and am the founder of Pacific SOS. Although I've grown up in Switzerland, my heritage is from the Pacific Islands. My father grew up in Papua New Guinea and I can trace back all four branches of my family, whether grandparents or ancestors, who migrated by boat to arrive at one of the Pacific Islands they would call home. Identifying with the people of the Pacifics and also as a young person deeply concerned about climate change, I was motivated to create a project that would bring awareness to the region's struggles on the frontlines in the face of climate change.
These islands not only stand at the forefront of the battle against climate change but also demonstrate remarkable resilience and determination in the face of environmental challenges. Comprising 15% of the Earth's surface, the Pacific Islands contribute merely a minuscule fraction, 0.03%, of global greenhouse gas emissions. Their reliance on the oceans makes them particularly vulnerable to issues like sea-level rise, coastal erosion, flooding, salt-water intrusion into freshwater supplies, hindered crop growth due to saltwater, as well as extreme weather events and the loss of precious biodiversity. The Pacific Islands bear an unequal burden of the consequences of climate change caused by actions and emissions far from their shores, amplifying the hardships they face.
My hope is that bringing awareness to the public about the plight of the Pacific Islands, that leaders and individuals will realise that their actions and decisions across the world have far-reaching impacts, and may be prompted to take some action, no matter how small. The Pacifics have given us great examples of how small actions can have big impacts. For instance, a coalition of small island nations, many of them from the Pacific region, influenced the Paris climate talks in 2015, successfully lobbying for a lower target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels instead of the previous 2 degrees. Additionally, the perseverance of a group of Pacific Island law students (now Pacific Island Students Fighting for Climate Change), led to a UN resolution requesting climate obligations under international law with an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice. Initially, Pacific leaders were hesitant to support these students, but their unwavering determination sparked a global youth campaign that eventually secured the historic UN vote.
While the SOS is a cry for help and international recognition of the challenges faced by the Pacific Islands, SOS is also a Sharing Of Stories to offer messages of hope, ideas and solutions, which might serve as models or inspiration for other regions facing similar threats.
By giving voices from Pacific Island youth a platform to come together here with Pacific SOS, I hope to inspire collective action and support for climate justice to drive us all towards a more sustainable future.
Pacific SOS Team
Mabuhay! I’m Aidalyn from Dumaguete City, Philippines. I am an environmental activist, nature and outdoor aficionado, wilderness first responder and a bamboo advocate. My dedication is truly on endeavors that supports and empowers people and communities. I am currently doing freelance work on community and enterprise development with bamboo as the main actor for a sustainable and resilient future. Bamboo is a three-tiered solution to combat the effects of climate change - people, progress, and planet.
Bula, I am Danian Singh, from Fiji Islands. I am currently a lecturer at University of Fiji and a hub coordinator for Sustainable Ocean Alliance Pacific. I have a masters degree specializing in island conservation. My research interests is currently focusing on marine anthropology and traditional knowledge in Pacific Islands. Also, I am advocate for ocean conservation and sustainable development.
Hi, I'm a climate and human rights activist from Neg Occ, PH. I am studying sociology at Silliman University. Excited to be part of the Pacific SOS campaign.
Papua New Guinea
Hi, I'm Britt Widama, from Papua New Guinea. I'm an advocate for sustainable living and climate justice. A miner by profession, I am a also a freelance writer, photographer and entrepreneur. I run an online shop that sells thrifted clothing as a means of promoting slow fashion and helping the earth in a small-scale yet sustainable manner. I'm currently upcycling old clothing and items into useful products.