2 take the lead in CNMI youth’s fight vs climate change

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Posted on Oct 16 2019

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Yarawe Themar, left, of Marianas High School and Seiji Gonzales of Kagman High School are fronting the youth movement in the CNMI against climate change.
(IVA MAURIN)

With mostly young people at the frontline in the fight against climate change in other parts of the world, two young men here in the CNMI have also stepped up to mobilize their fellow youths in the fight for the islands’ future.

Seiji Gonzales of Kagman High School and Yarawe Themar of Marianas High School are members of and representatives of Saipan to the Heirs to Our Oceans, or H2OO, a global youth movement whose mission is to educate and empower all youth to become leaders in protecting the world’s oceans.

Recognizing that climate change is real and knowing that it is the youth who would most suffer from its effects, the two are asking the CNMI government to join them in galvanizing the United Nations to action.

“We need our politicians to side with us [the youth],” Gonzales said, “so we can all come together with our peers in the [United] States, so we can get the United Nations to assist us in our goal to stop climate change.”

Last month, on Sept. 23, a total of 16 youth, including Swiss activist Greta Thunberg, filed a petition with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, alleging that Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, and Turkey are exacerbating the consequences of climate change, violating the youth’s right to life, health, and culture.

They asked the UN to lead the charge, to demand better for them, and to enforce the bold changes needed to stop global warming from going up by 1.5°C.

Right now, human activities have boosted global temperatures by about 1.1°C. This is expected to increase by 3.5°C in the year 2100, based on current climate policies that worldwide governments have set. Many scientists are saying that humans only have 11 years to act before the point of no return is reached

Gonzales and Themar are calling for everyone to wake up now, stressing that climate change is not a theory, but has been scientifically proven and backed by credible scientists and important figures around the world.

“Climate crisis is going to happen soon,” Themar said. “We have to do something now. …What we are fighting for is our future. We are not here because we want to be here. We are here because we have to. We are fighting for our future and we are fighting for our children’s future because, once everything has passed, then who is there to take over what the adults right now have left us?”

The two are set to rally the community, especially the youth, to come up with alternatives that are eco-friendly and sustainable.

“All we are asking is that the community and the government hear our youth out,” Gonzales said. “Assist us in a better society, lead [us] to a more eco-friendly and more sustainable society. We could all work together to save what we have done and what we are continuing to do because if not now, then when? Kumu ti Pågu, Pues ngai’an? Ngare saabw ighila, pues ileta?”

Young members of the community who want to know more about or join the youth movement can contact Frances Sablan at 783-5512, Gordon Marciano at 287-1195, or John Gonzales at 285-6382.

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com

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