In 1992, when twelve-year-old Severn Cullis-Suzuki warned of the dangers of climate change at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the gathered leaders smiled approvingly at this articulate young woman with a moving message.
Now, thirty years later, another generation of youth are showing up, online or in person, at COP-26 in Paris. They are still articulate, but by this time they are also very angry and very scared.
Youth4Pacific is a group of young people from the nations of the Pacific and the Pacific diaspora. Declaring, “We are not drowning! We are fighting!” they’re working to interweave traditional practices and philosophies with urgently needed new modes of living, rebuild financial systems, end the use of fossil fuels, and promote young leaders.
When we talk about finding and making beauty in wounded places, we must acknowledge that the entire Earth is a wounded place and will become more so as climate change wreaks its unpredictable havoc. Youth4Pacific chose as its symbol the sei, a flower known for its beauty and its resilience. The questions we must all answer now—youth and adults, people of all nations and ethnicities—are, “How do use beauty as a tool for our fight?” And, “Recognizing that wounded lands grow wounded people, how can we offer support and appreciation to one another?”