Reality of Climate Change

Most of my growing up was done here, in Sydney, however I was born in the small, beautiful islands of Fiji. Although I moved to Australia with my parents at the age of 5, we constantly flew back to our home island at least once every 1-2 years.

I first noticed the effects of climate change in my beautiful home island of Fiji in 2015, during one of our visits to the village.

In only one year (since the last time we were there) the usual debris and seaweed on the sand banks left by tiding waves were now scattered on the main road. This indicated the rising sea levels that the itaukei, Indigenous Fijians, weren’t expecting when building seawalls and infrastructure on the island.

High tides were getting higher.

High tides continue to get higher.

This was only the beginning of realisations of the immediate threat of climate change and the urgency for climate action. The following year my dad flew back to the very same village to help with cleaning and rebuilding in the aftermath of cyclone Winston, the most intense tropical cyclone in the Southern Hemisphere.

He spent a month in the village helping out.

It was during this time that discussions on the relocation of the village to higher grounds were being negotiated.

This one catastrophe impacted over 40% of the population and led to tens of thousands of people becoming homeless.

The islands have been hit with more cyclones and floods since then, at an abnormally high rate.

This is just one of the many experiences of the climate catastrophe.

This short film by Climate Justice For All shares similar experiences across Fiji.

Our neighbouring islands in the Pacific face similar issues with rising sea levels and natural disasters, some are even in states of emergency.

We see effects of climate change here in Australia too. From the heat waves in Western Sydney, to the intense bushfires, to weeks of heavy rain and flooding. There are stories from the Indigenous of these lands, on the changes of the landscape after thousands of years of caring for the land that we live on.

This is happening now.

This has been happening for a while now.

We are Christians. We serve a God of justice.

How are we responding to this catastrophe?

Are we hiding away in the comfort of our churches, in the comfort of our homes?

We all have our bit that can include:

Eating less meat, shop locally and reduce waste

Everyone has different dietary and cultural needs and we recognise that a plant-based diet isn’t for everyone. But even small actions can have a big impact, like incorporating just a bit more plant-based foods and less meat into one’s diet, or shopping locally to reduce food transport emissions. 

Travel sustainably

Transport produces around 19% of our annual national greenhouse gas emissions. By making smart travel choices (using public transport, walking, cycling or carpooling), or switching to an electric vehicle, there is a significantly reduce amount of energy used to get around.

Invest in solar panels

The biggest solution to the climate crisis is to meet our energy needs with renewable energy. This can be done by either purchasing accredited green-power, or by investing in solar panels on your roof. Not only do solar panels slash carbon footprint, they also slash the electricity bill

Divest your super

Check whether or not your super contributions or bank are actively funding the fossil fuel industry. Click here to check! Some financial institutions essentially use your money to bankroll fossil fuel projects, but some are making a conscious effort to avoid them. You have power over where your money goes, and can choose to put it into ethical banks and super funds that will take your dollars out of the fossil fuel industry and invest them in renewable energy projects instead.


Food scraps that are dumped as trash and decomposed at landfills contribute to the rise of methane in the atmosphere, adding to the climate crisis, and also turns leachate that poisons the ocean. Composting is better for the environment as it helps reduce these affects while also creating a sustainable cycle

In addition to this, it is important to put pressure on key leaders and the government to also do their part to help create a more sustainable future.

Our faith challenges us to speak out and act.

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into uncomfortable spaces, to speak truth in spaces of privilege.

Listen to the experiences and wisdom from Indigenous and CALD communities.

Bear witness as Christians that we are stewards of all of God’s creation.

Climate justice is the fight of our time. How will you help?

Remember you can keep in touch with PULSE by signing up for our monthly newsletter, or for further information contact our team via email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok.

Ofa Foiakau is the Youth/High School Ministry Lead and Field Officer (Central/West) within the PULSE team.

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