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World leaders should take climate change seriously

I come from a small coastal village in the Solomon Islands.

Climate change and sea level rise is one of the biggest problems for my community and my family.

Our home is 16 meters from the seashore. My school is also near the sea. Every year, during December and January, there are very high tides.

This year, there were high tides during May and June as well.

The sea rose much higher than normal and flooded my home, our small vegetable garden, and our fruit trees.

It also went into the freshwater wells that we had dug to collect water for washing and swimming. They were full of saltwater.

I was so angry because the sea carries so much debris. During the flood, this went around our house and we had to clean up the mess. 

Now, my family is worried. We have nowhere to go. Moving to higher ground would lead to disputes with the people who currently live there. Instead, we have to face staying here. 

Sometimes the path to my school is flooded. My friends, my siblings and I have to walk through saltwater filled with rubbish that has been washed up by the waves. 

When the school grounds are too flooded, our teachers send us back home. Missing lessons makes me sad. 

At other times of the year, the temperature gets really hot. When this happens our plants die and the fruits on our trees no longer taste sweet.

The crops we grow in our garden, like potatoes and cassava, are badly affected too. 

I often sit in front of my family house feeling the breeze from the wind and watch the waves splashing against the rocks around our home. 

I feel sad knowing that the people in my village, including my grandfather and some members of my family, contributed to the problems we are having. 

They collected big stones from the reefs around our village to use to build our homes. When these stones were in the water, they helped to break down waves as they came into shore.

Now, when bad weather comes, the waves wash straight through to the front of our homes and I feel so scared. 

The women in my village also cut down our mangrove trees to use for firewood. These mangrove trees used to help stop strong winds from destroying our homes.

The weather pattern here is abnormal now. It’s not really following the seasonal patterns I have seen before.

Anything can happen at any time and we live in fear. 

The government of our country has promised to help people like us, who live in coastal regions, but they have failed to do so. 

We want to fix these problems ourselves but we need help. 

World leaders should take climate change seriously.

Extreme weather and rising sea levels are already affecting our food, water, health, and livelihoods. In the not-so-distant future, they will wipe away our homes. 

Climate change is making our islands uninhabitable. If nothing is done, this will result in a huge body of climate refugees who have no place to seek shelter.

The young people here, like me, are the ones who will be the most affected. 

So let us join our hands and work together to try to solve this crisis. Let us protect my village, my island and my country.
-Diana Gelina, 15

Story Information:

Country: Solomon Islands

Topic: Climate change (general)

Photo or video credit: Daily Mirror / Collin Leafasia

Text Credit: Diana Gelina

Date : 24 July 2021

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