Jo-Jikum in partnership with the RMI Climate Change Directorate hosted its first climate webinar series earlier this month — the first in a series of weekly events that take place every Friday for one hour at Marshall Islands Resort at the Jemanin room.
This webinar is funded by a grant from Unitarian Universalist Service Committee with support from the Nationally Determined Contributions Partnership and Deep Dive. The five-week series is in-person session for Majuro participants but it is also open via Zoom for Marshallese and others who are abroad.
Attending the webinar at least three of the five sessions will qualify any interested group of youth to apply for up to $2,000 to organize their own climate awareness activity in their school or community. A number of guest speakers will be featured on the science of climate change in the Marshall Islands as well as the Marshall Islands-led initiatives to address them.
The first guest speakers were Kirsten Lami Maddison who works as a Project Coordinator at the Climate Change Directorate and Reginald White who is the Director/Meteorologist at RMI National Weather Office. They talked about the latest science of climate change impact in the RMI.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, director and founder of Jo-Jikum, led the webinar.
“This is our first time,” she said. “We’re really trying to connect with college age youth out here to youth out in Arkansas, California, Utah, Fiji and Vanuatu. A lot of people don’t know that there’s actually a ton of climate work happening all the time, me and Lami and Reginald. We’re all aware of it and so are the staff of Jo-Jikum because we’re a part of it.”
Kathy continued: “This is our effort to try and get the informative to you in more informal bite size pieces,” she said. “Our real goal is to be informative but informal.”
“Our full name is Climate Science Impact Taskforce,” said Lami. “It was created back in 2020 for the national adaptation plan. Adaption plan is this plan that’s currently developing, and it’s basically a survival plan but in terms of adaptation.”
“The taskforce includes ministries and agencies such as the Weather Service, Public Works, Natural Resources and Commerce,” she added. “We all come together on a weekly basis and look at reports and review them. We also get input from them because the people we work with — they work directly with the community and they’re very experienced in collecting data. Not only do we look at climate reports and data, we also discuss the impact of climate change and bring to the different to the different sector like education, agriculture and health.
“For young people like you, you should be concerned because we are living on many low lying islands so sea level rise should be an immediate concern,” Reginald said. “We have no other choice, temperature, pressure and rain rise, they all matter but for us it’s all about survivability.”
He said there are many causes of sea level rise. “There are so many factors, the natural factor and man-made factor,” he added. “If you understand these carbon emissions from your car and so many other things impacts the rise of temperature, if you understand that rise in temperature melts the ice cap that increases your sea level then you’re going to be able to connect and say my action here affects my livelihood in the future.”
The session broke into smaller groups that sparked a lot of discussion on what people can do to share our climate science information with the public and share their thoughts and ideas.
In other RMI climate news:
Climate Change Week in RMI launches Monday April 18 with an opening ceremony, followed by a career day at the the PSS Conference Hall in Delap. The opening kicks off at 9am.
The week of activities is sponsored by the RMI Climate Change Directorate with numerous partner ministries, agencies and organizations involved. The schedule:
• Tuesday is the deadline for students to submit their essays in the climate essay contest, with winners to be announced at Friday’s closing program.
• Wednesday will feature a coordination workshop for the Tile Til Eo Committee (TTEC) and the general public.
• Thursday brings a highlight of the week: A scheduled debate Thursday between students from CMI and USP.
• Friday wrap up. Climate Week will wrap up Friday with an arts festival and presentation of prizes for the essay and debate winners. All events are at PSS Conference Hall.
The theme for the week is: “Lieoeo nan tilmenewoje lal in ad” (Collaborating to sustainably invest in our islands).