Becoming resilience: What are we doing as individuals, do we care?

“We can only make change if we start now, using resources within our own capacity and initiative as individuals showing that we care”


Within the past two weeks, a lot of negotiations, exchanges of ideas, collaborations and networking between representatives from different government and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) around the world have taken place in Warsaw, Poland as they gather together for the United Nations Global Climate Change Conference.

Vanuatu as a member of the Alliance of the Small Island States (AOSIS) and the G77 and China Groups has also involved in these many forms of negotiations and partnership networking not only as a group but as individuals following their areas of interests.

This opportunity has also given the Vanuatu delegates the chance to see, listen, interact and experience firsthand some of the world’s best practices and ways of how to deal with climate change issues from around the globe. For instance, especially in terms of technology creation and methods people from different fields have showed and shared during this annual conference.

Interestingly, though many delegates described the Conference of the Parties (COP) as having very strict processes and negotiations always favored developed countries as reflected in decisions made so far, I see that this Conference also brought together individuals who [have/are] silently committing themselves for a better change in realizing a resilient world around them.

I met someone from Germany who works for the Plant for the Planet Foundation. He is Kjell Kuhne who represents the foundation in Latin America and worldwide. He advocates that people should now stop talking and start planting trees for climate justice. The foundation hopes that children at the age of 6 to 8 years around the world will plant 1 million trees in each of their country.

Another great initiative Mr. Kuhne initiated is the ‘Future Box’ as a strategy to swiftly reduce fossil fuel demand and initiate structural change to the post-fossil society while at the same time practicing solidarity with the victims of climate impacts.

Explaining how the box works, he told me, “For each dollar I spend on fossil fuels, I put a dollar into my box but it all depends on your desire for change and solidarity, maybe small but still significant.”

Interestingly, I met someone within my own delegation who has demonstrated similar desire of a self-starter towards reaching Climate Chance resilience. She is Juliann Williams one of the seven women delegate of Vanuatu attending COP19. Juliann’s participation at this year’s Conference of the Parties is unique in that she attended the conference as someone working from a non-climate change institution and at her own costs, something that not many people are committed to do.

In acknowledging her commitment and desire to learn about Climate Change at a global level, this is her encouragement to others who might missed out on the myth that “CC is everybody’s business.”

“A lot have been said about CC in our country but until you come to this world arena, you see the different perspectives on what is actually happening nowadays. CC is a global trend and we know in Vanuatu that its impacts will continue to affect the lives of our people.

“I am glad that I could join the government delegation to this conference, especially when coming from an organization outside of the CC work related institutions from NGOS and government. It helps to open my mind and eye on what CC is all about and how its impacts can affect all members of our community.

“I now understand that CC is everybody’s business and regardless of where you are working, I think it’s all our responsibility and right to know about CC, because at the end of the day when we finish from our different jobs, we can help our people to adapt, its impacts will still affects all of us and we have already started to see through coastal erosion on our beaches as an example.

“I just want to encourage all Vanuatu citizens that it is now time to start stepping up and find out ways you can help our government and our people to understand and realize the impacts of CC. It’s time now that we should all put our efforts together to reduce the impacts of CC.” Juliann Williams said.

These are but a few of the many inspiring stories I gathered during this COP19 and DO WE REALLY CARE?