Welcome Home Greenpeace
by Shiva Gounden
14 July 2023
"Welcome home, Greenpeace, welcome home, you've been gone for so long..." Chief Timothy sang as he welcomes the Rainbow Warrior back to Vanuatu, 38 years after the original Rainbow Warrior was bombed while peacefully protesting environmental injustice in the Pacific.
The Rainbow Warrior III is now in Vanuatu – one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations. We are providing a platform for communities, activists and politicians to show how they are leading the world in their fight for climate justice.
Vanuatu is also the birthplace of a groundbreaking legal campaign taking climate change to the world’s highest court. For us Pasifika peoples, this opportunity has the potential to shape our existence, our right to survival, equality, water, food, culture, language, education and health.
A successful legal opinion could protect the human rights of current and future generations and finally hold polluters accountable for their actions. But this depends on big polluting countries like Australia making a strong submission to the International Court, and this is where you come in!
Will you stand with us and urge Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong to make a strong case for climate action at the world’s highest court?
Our journey in Vanuatu has been filled with many colourful and empowering events that have showcased the resilience and strength of Pasifika communities.
From art exhibitions to fashion shows, community gatherings to singing, dancing, and sharing meals, the energy and love have left an indelible mark on our hearts.
A significant highlight was our visit to the village of Eton, where we immersed ourselves and deeply felt the cultural pulse of the community. Community members shared their stories and their fight for climate justice and gifted us beautiful handmade items, symbolising their love and connection to the land. The Eton community live on the West coast of Vanuatu, exposed to rough seas and rising tides on low-lying ground. The community hall, a place the community seek refuge during cyclones, was flooded during back-to-back cyclones earlier this year. Droughts are also anticipated for the dry season.
Despite these hardships, the community opened their hearts and homes to us. They fed us. Our children played together and by the end of our visit, we were family.
We carry these stories with us, weaving together the vibrant tapestry of Pacific Island communities, and sharing their struggles, strength, and determination with the world. Vanuatu’s tireless efforts to combat climate issues inspire us to continue the fight for a better future.
Together, we stand in solidarity, fighting for what is right and embracing the voices of those most impacted by the climate crisis.