In her address to the Sydney Palm Sunday rally and march on April 10, Pacific Outreach Officer at the Edmund Rice Centre Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang — who comes from the tiny Pacific island state Kiribati which is increasingly inundated by rising sea levels — warned that we are "collateral damage to the greed of distant colonising powers".
"As we speak, my people are suffering the impacts of climate change. Due to rising sea levels and erosion, people's homes have been destroyed. Inundation is damaging food crops and our groundwater is becoming brackish ... The coral reefs are dying, our fish stocks are dwindling, and our fishermen are forced to spend more hours out in the ocean, in the sun, trying to get fish for their families ... and eventually people will be forced to leave their islands."
The people of Kiribati are some of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world yet it is one of the most affected and vulnerable to climate change, she said. She called on Australia to transition away from fossil fuels and fulfil its obligations under the Paris Accord.