Maina Talia, of the Congregational Church of Tuvalu visited Scotland last week to tell delegates from the World Council of Churches about the desperate struggle of the island people of Tuvalu against the impact of climate change.
Talking to an audience at the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge he shared pictures and stories of the impact of Cyclone Pam in 2015. Hurricane force winds lifted the roofs off buildings , huge waves inundated the low-lying islands and opened the graves of island cemeteries, scattering bones. The destruction and upset were enormous but thankfully no one was killed.
Tuvalu, which has a population of only 10,000, is made up of low-lying tropical islands and is one of the countries most at risk from climate change. Rising sea levels, more intense tropical storms and episodic droughts combine to make life on the islands an increasing challenge.
Yet Maina’s message was one of hope and resilience. The people of Tuvalu are determined to try and stay in their homeland and call upon churches in Scotland to help them in their efforts. Maina called for us to take action to reduce our carbon emissions through action and advocacy. He was pleased to learn about the work of eco-congregations in Scotland and was able to return to Tuvalu to share the message that members of eco-congregations in Scotland understand the plight of the islanders and are committed to helping.