#MyClimateActionStory - Huega Detlef Isaia - Climate Warrior from Tokelau

Aug 21, 2015

Huega Detlef Isaia from Tokelau. Photo credit: GEF SGP UNDP Samoa.

Huega Detlef Isaia is a young climate warrior from Tokelau. He is a fisherman and the youngest member of the Taupulega (Council of Elders) in Nukunonu Village.

What was my Inspiration?

In 2014 I was part of a group of youth from Tokelau who had the privilege to attend the 350.org Global Climate Movement in Sydney Australia. I was able to meet other Climate Change Warriors like myself from across the South Pacific region and from all over the world. People who were also experiencing the same challenges as we did in Tokelau. The opportunity to attend this Conference inspired, encouraged and motivated me to take action. I decided I would focus my actions on raising awareness in my country, especially with students and youth, on the effects of climate change and the threats to Tokelau. 

 

We had already observed how our shoreline had been increasingly pushed inward by the ocean. We knew the longer dry spells were causing our coconuts to dry up. The longer dry spells also reduced the volume of drinking water available for our livestock and the affected quality of water for human consumption. But there was very little knowledge on how my people could adapt to these changes, and carry out actions that would reduce the effects of Climate Change.

As the youngest Taupulega member from this small island nation - I vowed to be a Climate Warrior. I have a responsibility and a duty to my people to protect our land, our heritage, our identity and our future from the effects of climate change. 

My participation in conferences and other meetings strengthens my determination. It gives me weapons to continue the fight against global climate change. And it helps me to develop actions that will help our people adapt to the effects it is causing in Tokelau.

My Climate Actions

In the Pacific, there is a saying that "the children are our future". I base my actions on this belief. Our Council of Elders have permitted me to continually work with our schools and our young people to educate them on climate change and the threat to Tokelau and the Pacific region. They learn how climate change is affecting the natural environment. They learn how human actions can either protect or damage our environment. With this knowledge, the youth and children can take actions. They spread awareness to their family at home and in their community. We organize clean up days when we walk all around the island picking up rubbish carried by the ocean to our shores. We continually empower and inspire our children and youth to also become Climate Safe Warriors.

As a youth I am so proud that my home Tokelau is the first small island nation in the whole world to become 100% renewable energy efficient. Youth actions in our Solar Project has resulted in financial savings for the Government of more than one million dollars per year on the cost of diesel supply. Youth actions and awareness raising has helped our people to build their knowledge and to make informed decisions and actions on how to adapt and reduce the effects of climate change. Our leaders and those who have gone before us have inspired us to do greater things for the world and encouraged us to not give up. “We are not drowning. WE ARE FIGHTING!"

 

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