This climate change poem brought world leaders to tears
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner was selected from over 500 civil society representatives at the UN Climate Summit meeting last weekend. The 26-year-old Marshall Islands native gave an impassioned speech and recited her powerful poem, “Dear Matafele Peinem.”
An official Twitter account tweeted the poem out, saying that it had moved the UN representatives to tears.
Jetnil-Kijiner is the co-founder of the environmental NGO, Jo-JiKuM. The NGO’s mission is to empower and educate the youth towards environmental issues, specifically relating to climate change. The Marshal Islands are a front line community when it comes to the devastation of climate change. The island with the highest altitude lies only two meters above sea level, so rising sea levels mean annihilation for the island nation.
“To tackle (climate change), we need a radical change of course,” Jetnil-Kijiner explains. “This isn’t easy, I know. It means ending carbon pollution within my lifetime. It means supporting those of us most affected to prepare for unavoidable climate impacts. And it means taking responsibility for irreversible loss and damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions.”