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Sadness Of Loss Needs To Be Amplified: Sipeli

Sadness Of Loss Needs To Be Amplified: Sipeli
Pita Sipeli after reciting his poem on ancestral history at the International Civil Society Week on December 6, 2017. Photo: Sheldon Chanel
December 08
13:39 2017

Climate change has not only eroded our coastlines. It is also devastating our heritage and identities in lost villages their ancestral implications and no-one is talking about it, says professional poet Pita Sipeli.

“Nobody talks about culture; I think people talk about climate change and that’s it,” said Mr Sipeli.

“Imagine the sadness of leaving ancestral land and having to leave the graves of your dead parents – that’s real loss.”

40-year-old Mr Sipeli left his job two years ago to become a full-time poet and put odes together to express climate-induced cultural problems.

The ‘city boy’, as he calls himself, now performs across multiple localities trying to remind people of their culture and heritage.

He believes if people lose this important connection, whole languages could be lost as a result of the devastation due to climate change.

Mr Sipeli delivered one of his poems, which alluded to ancestral history at the Climate Induced Development conference during the International Civil Society Week in Suva yesterday.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that globally an annual average of 21.5 million people have been displaced by wild and sudden changes in weather patterns.

Just as recently as 2015, Cyclone Pam displaced 55 and 25 per cent of Vanuatu and Tuvalu’s populations respectively.

The Paris Agreement’s preamble includes a reference to “migrant” – or climate change refugees – asking governments to “promote and consider their respective obligations towards migrants.”

“I think rather than just talking about the science of climate change we should be asking the question: how do we give people power?” said the poet.

“I think art can amplify the stories of these people and give them power out of the sadness they must endure when leaving.”

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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