By Happy Ntsanwisi – Nthavela Newspaper*
DURBAN, Dec 9 – (TerraViva) The 1,500 people of Tokelau have a top-priority interest in climate talks: the highest point on any of the three atolls that make up their home in the Pacific Ocean is only five metres above sea level.
This New Zealand-administered territory is present at the U.N. climate conference to raise its voice in support of a global deal to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and Tokelau’s leader, Foua Toloa, says the island is doing its own part.
By September 2012, the energy supply for the islands’ 1,500 people will be entirely renewable – well, 93 percent. A tiny amount of fossil fuel will still be used for cooking and running the administration’s three cars, but arrays of solar panels will take over generating electricity for the people’s needs. A custom-made generator that runs on coconut oil – oil produced right on the island – will light things up on overcast days.
Now Tokelauans need everyone else to do follow their example.
* Community media coverage of COP 17 is being supported by the Media Development & Diversity Agency of South Africa, which is promoting the participation of local journalists through a programme of training and reporting on climate change.