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In our final stretch, I find myself reflecting on a recent trip to Panama that reminded me of the stakes of the climate crisis.
On my trip, I found myself on a small boat in the otherworldly blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, gazing at a string of beautiful tiny islands springing up against the blue – Archipiélago de San Blas
My guide shared with me and the other travelers how the territory was won back by the Indigenous Guna Peoples. He explained they now have authority over their traditional territory – even requiring passport checks upon entry since the territory is not officially part of Panama or Colombia.
The Guna prevailed against multiple attempts by both Spanish colonizers and national governments to militarily eradicate their traditions, language, customs, and population.
By the time the guide finished talking, my heart was in my throat. The same question recurred over and over in my head, how will this civilization be able to survive climate change?
The islands are at sea level, threatened in every direction by the rising ocean – one that barricades or creative engineering can't stop. For the Guna, the battle against the climate crisis is a losing one.
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When I returned to Panama City, I did some research and found the answer to my question. After centuries of history and resistance, the Guna tribe will be relocated to a Panamanian subdivision due to the effects of climate change.
After decades of rejecting the modern world and the elements that cause climate change, the industrialized world bore down anyway. There are few scenarios where injustice is illustrated so plainly, and so cruelly.
If you’re reading this, I know you, like I do, care about the impacts of the climate crisis. And I know you, like I do, care about injustices.
These stories are worthy of being heard. Those of us who find ourselves in positions of national or economic privilege, who are safer from the more extreme impacts of climate change, like displacement, cannot turn a blind eye to the realities of the climate emergency for other communities across the globe.
I’m going to end this with a heartfelt ask.
In our last four days, will you take action and make a generous contribution to CNO's spring fundraising campaign to raise $100,000?
Our annual fundraising campaign is absolutely critical to making our operational budget for 2023 so we can sustain our game-changing climate journalism that exposes injustices and holds the powerful to account.
Canada’s National Observer