“This is a matter of our race’s existence and extinction”

A letter from a schoolgirl on the sinking Seychelles to the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon

Sonam Tsultrim is from the low-lying Seychelles, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change due to rising sea levels

Sonam Tsultrim is from the low-lying Seychelles, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change due to rising sea levels

Dear Mr. UN Secretary General,

We are small and, to many insignificant. We are spread all across, yet we lie unknown.Day by day I can say we seem to disintegrate into this vast blue mystifying territory.

I am an islander and I’m proud for there is no other place I would wish to be than my home, but what I fear is that by 2020 I will no longer have a home and I will no longer exist for I would have perished along with it.

Our pleas are lost in all the noises these big brothers make. While they complain whether they are making a profit or not, we are left unheard, forgotten. Do they not hear our god forsaken pleas? Do we not matter? Are we so insignificant that they do not bother to cast a second glance our way?

So therefore what I aspire for 2020 will be nothing extravagant but simply that I still be alive by then and not submerged along with my motherland. Is it too much to ask? We the SIDS [small island developing states] are very well acquainted with the almighty climate change and obviously not on the best terms.

We are at the receiving end of Mother Nature’s inevitable wrath, which so many countries, big or small, are experiencing in this contemporary world. What many don’t realize is that this colossal crisis can be solved. It is not rocket science that requires solely geniuses to understand what needs to be done; frankly even our local fishermen don’t need to be told twice.

So how come you, the Big Brothers who have all the facilities, scientific knowledge and manpower still apparently have not comprehended the issues we face because of your own selfish reasons!

One must not be blinded by pride, especially when in front of us lie so many solutions. The Earth is bursting at the seams when it comes to renewable energy sources. Solar energy, wind energy, hydroelectricity, wave energy and many more are all at our disposal. It is now up to us to make good and reliable use of them.

All that energy and power they waste to round up men and machines to drill so deep within the core of the Earth only ends up doing more harm than good. The way they rely on fossil fuels and nuclear energy is beyond belief.

Eventually the outcome is none other than global warming. The way their intoxicating fumes devour our atmosphere and result in the polar caps thawing, has us the SIDS at their mercy.

It is no different than a drug addict who consumes his daily dose and couldn’t care less of its consequences, just as long as he has it everything is all daisies and sunshine. He seems to block everything out, even the need for help.

Furthermore we need to preserve our Jewels of the Earth; a perfect example is the rainforest. The trees which collapse under the axes of lumberjacks only seems to intensify the greenhouse effect.

These green broccoli like figures are not mere decorations that tag along as accessories to our planet. In fact, it is actually thanks to them that we are still breathing as they convert all those toxic gases, namely carbon dioxide, to oxygen the air that we breathe and thrive on. Hence, cutting them down for timber will only aggravate our critical circumstances. I really don’t feel like choking anytime soon.

However, it is never too late. Reforestation in these areas and afforestation in certain new areas can help us overcome this calamity.

How hard could this be? Patience is greatly required.

What’s more, our coral reefs are also vanishing. As the water boils up, our main source of income is rapidly disappearing, leaving us with only bleached corals. All marine life that once roamed our reefs will be extinct and it’s sad to say that our future generations will not get the chance to see them firsthand, but rather in a secondary source like pictures and books.

This really isn’t what I would like to see happening by 2020. I have no intention of seeing a dull grey sky stained by interminable serpents of smokes or a bilious tinted ocean and rivers.

On the other hand, if we follow simple instructions on how we can save our planet, I would definitely much rather enjoy this view; surrounded by a hale and hearty green environment, sky as blue as a jay’s wings, the ocean which remains ever azure and majestic, air fresh as the sea breeze and most importantly my home “still afloat”.

Therefore Mr. UN Secretary General I urge you to do what you can, as these matters are of great importance and affects the whole of humanity.

This is no longer a child’s play; this is a matter of our race’s existence and extinction, which will mostly be the latter if our pleas are not heeded.

There is a saying which goes, “The chains of habit are too weak to be noticed until they are too strong to be broken,” and these chains only seem to be getting stronger by the ticking seconds.

I speak on behalf of all SIDS natives to save our islands from submerging any further, for this is my humble appeal.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

Sonam Tsultrim.

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