Pelenise Alofa: Losing paradise

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Pelenise Alofa Pelenise Alofa is a tireless activist determined to raise awareness about the threat of climate change to her homeland, Kiribati.

The remote, low-lying South Pacific island nation of Kiribati is facing a “life-or-death” situation. With few natural resources and poor infrastructure, it’s plagued by rising sea levels, water contamination and pollution.

High tides have destroyed homes and resources crucial to the island’s livelihood. Now the island chain is at risk of disappearing completely if sea levels continue to rise at the current pace.

“On most islands, it has come up like 10, 20 meters inland, so, you’re losing land,” explained activist Pelenise Alofa. A native of Kiribati’s Banaba Island, she serves as the national coordinator for the Kiribati Climate Action Network.

Pelenise Alofa: Losing paradise

Pelenise Alofa: Losing paradise

Activist Pelenise Alofa talks about the human impact of climate change.


Alofa is determined to raise awareness about the threat of climate change to her homeland in hopes of saving those who live on the island and preserving their culture. She spoke during the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York. She said she was looking forward to meeting entrepreneurs and government leaders who are ready to build alliances.

“Climate change also offers opportunities,” explained Alofa. “It’s not just insecurity; it is an opportunity for us and for these people to work together in partnership and actually work together to create a better environment for everybody.”

May Lee sat down with Pelenise Alofa at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative to talk about the human impact of climate change and how environmental sustainability could help save this nation.