Pacific Climate Change leader Brianna Fruean woke up the world with the strength of her words at #COP26 - ‘E pala ma’a ae le pala upu - even rocks may decay but words are everlasting' - In the Pacific we are not drowning we are fighting!!
#Watch her full speech in front of world leaders - US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince Charles, British broadcaster Sir David Attenborough and more at COP26 in Glasgow in the video above and you can read it in full below -
"When I was a little girl I was taught the importance and impact of words. In my culture there is a proverb that goes, 'e pala ma’a ae lē pala upu'. It means that even stones decay, but words remain.
A lesson in knowing how words can be wielded.
How text can change everything. How each word you use is weighted. How switching 1 word or number can reframe worlds. How 'climate action' can be vastly different from 'climate justice'. How 2 degrees could mean 'the end' and 1.5 could mean 'a fighting chance'.
You all have the power here today to be better. To remember that your meeting rooms and drafting documents are not just black and white objects. To remember that in your words, you wield the weapons that can save us or sell us out.
I don’t need to remind you of the reality of our vulnerable communities. If you’re in this room you know what climate change is doing to us. You don’t need my pain or tears to know that we’re in a crisis.
The real question is whether you have the political will to do the right thing, to wield the right words and follow it up with long overdue action.
If you’re looking for inspiration on climate leadership, take a look at young Pacific people. We are not just victims to this crisis, we have been resilient beacons of hope.
As Pacific youth we have always rallied behind the warrior cry 'we are not drowning, we are fighting'.
This is my message from Earth to COP.
I hope you remember my words, because
'e pala ma’a ae le pala upu'
Check out some of her interviews with global media. She was interviewed by BBC News following her powerful speech at COP26 - you can watch a snippet of this interview below -
She then appeared on the 'Leading British Conversation' here with by Iain Dale.