Currently co-hosted a live Twitter Space conversation with Pacific Environment Weekly
— highlighting the perspectives of climate and communication experts from Tonga— after the devastating Volcanic eruption on Jan. 15.
They discussed the trauma of the event but also how the spirit of the communities in Tonga and the broader Pacific islands help people to navigate the climate crisis. They delved into the way western media often victimizes the people of the Pacific when discussing climate change rather than highlighting the work and unique resilience of the communities of the frontlines of the climate crisis.
Sikulu, who is currently located in Australia, said that he went several days without hearing from his family members in Tonga.
“We’ve gone from worrying about whether or not they’re there or whether or not they’re safe to worrying now about whether or not they’re going to have enough water or food to get them through the next week.” said Sikulu, “Now it’s, how do we get support home as fast as possible?”
Latu-Sanft discussed how people without a connection to the Pacific consume coverage as if they are watching a movie, but will quickly forget about how major disasters impact communities once the action dissipates.
“The coverage is very disaster-focused.” said Latu-Sanft, “People will move on, but the country will then start the real work of rebuilding, of getting all that mud out of the house and picking up the pieces.”