Seychellois Sonam Tsultrim, a youth who took part in an international competition for the International Year of SIDS in 2014, by composing a letter to Ban Ki-moon about the need to preserve islands and their environment, read out her letter to him at State House on Saturday evening.
The United Nations secretary-general warmly applauded Ms Tsultrim and accepted the letter.
Speaking to Seychelles NATION, Ms Tsultrim said “I was honoured as I was talking to the big boss himself.”
The 17-year-old said she wrote the letter two years ago when she was in secondary four, adding: “I did not expect him (Mr Ban) to come up and shake my hands.”
Asked in what mood she was when she wrote the letter, Ms Tsultrim replied: “Surely I was in an inspired mood when I wrote the letter and I wrote it from the heart.”
In an email to Ms Tsultrim, Newton Kanhema, a former journalist who now works for the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya, wrote: “You touched my heart and brains and you are the epitome of brilliance and I know the future is waiting for you. Your voice is in New York and they will use it and will be in touch. Excellent is too short a word to describe both content and presentation.”
The following is the letter:
Young people in SIDS: Aspiration for 2020+
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 are very well acquainted with the almighty climate change and obviously not on the best terms. We are at Mother Nature’s receiving end of her inevitable wrath which so many countries big or small are experiencing in this contemporary world. What many don’t realise is that this colossal crisis can be solved. It is no 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 no 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 amounts of trees which collapse under the axes of lumberjacks only seem to intensify the green house effects. These green broccoli like figures are not mere decorations that tag along as accessories to our planet. In all 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 is that 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 generation will not get the chance to see them first hand 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 of how we can save our planet, I would definitely much rather enjoy this view; surrounded by a hale 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 affect the whole 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 given if our pleas are not heeded. If we as a small island can do so much to help build a better planet, how come the big rich cannot do the same? If we with little financial and human resources can dedicate so much funds and people to teach our people, young islanders like me how to take care of our islands and mother Earth, why is it the big rich cannot do so? I have been brought up in an island where environment conservation is a topic of our everyday conversation, where at a very young age our schools are environment education centres. When I was in primary I was not only taught how to read Cinderella, how to write a story about my voyage to the moon or how to turn tables into graphs but also, how and why we need to plant trees, why we need to collect water from the roofs of our school and save energy, what is climate change and why are the beaches in my village changing with more exposed roots than sand. If our islands can do so, then I see no reason why the big rich cannot. They need to respect and implement global UN decisions. It is not only for the small but also for the rich and developed too. 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.
A Seychelles native.
Source : Seychelles NATION