In recent decades, the issue of climate change has been increasingly reported throughout the world. Climate change is a change that occurs in the statistical distribution of weather patterns that happened over a long period of time (tens to millions of years). Climate change that we are experiencing today is generally called Global Warming. Global Warming is a phenomenon of rising temperatures in the Earth’s climate system for the last few centuries and its associated effects. Some of the effects we can feel right now are extreme weather, tropical cyclones, and rising sea levels. Tropical cyclones and rising sea levels are ones that will greatly affect life on small islands.
Tsunamis and increasingly violent ocean waves have taken 150 lives in Samoa. Samoa, who had been friends with the ocean for centuries, was now afraid of her. The people who were forced to move because of difficulties in adapting to the changing climate became deprived of their historical and cultural roots. French Polynesia continues to face tropical cyclones and storms that not only endanger their lives but also rob the population of marine biota in the vicinity. Pearls that have become their main commodity are now difficult to produce. Vanuatu began building concrete walls off the coast to avoid flooding. These are just a few examples of the islands in the Asia Pacific.
Because of its influence on the welfare of the people of Asia Pacific, the urgency to fight Global Warming is very high. Some developing countries found on these islands are threatened to sink and must carry out large-scale exoduses. Rising temperatures also result in decrease of clean water supply, increase erosion and flooding on the coast, whiten corals, decrease in the number of fish in the open sea, and much more. This urgency then pushed the Boe Declaration which was later reinforced by the Pacific Islands Forum 2018 (PIF 2018) decision.
The 2018 Asia Pacific Islands Forum once again affirms that climate change is the biggest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of the Pacific people. Asia Pacific leaders have even asked Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General to help them fight climate change. They also began to push for mitigation and adaptation in their communities.
Knowing the urgency of handling Global Warming, it is not wise when some parties try to force other subjects that are not related to the topic of PIF 2018. This is related to how insistent Vanuatu is in proposing the agenda of liberating West Papua into the forum. Even though Vanuatu itself has been overwhelmed in dealing with floods, lack of clean water, and corruption in its country. It was also a shame that Asia Pacific media have focus on this trivial matter as compared to their threatened existence.
PIF 2018 has made the wisest decision to re-push Boe Declaration instead of overlooking this important problem over the West Papua issue. Climate change is actually not only the problem for archipelagic countries like Asia Pacific and Indonesia but it is also a responsibility for humanity in the world. Media have a big responsibility to spread the awareness so that every mitigation and adaptation planned can be accomplished soon. It was not really worth when media chose to write about an exaggerated issue over the livelihood of their own people. Efforts to restore the climate as before can only be done with the support of all countries and media, large and small, for the earth that is more livable for future generations.