Participants on the 101st Global Voyage had the opportunity to learn more about issues related to climate change due to the presence of climate change activist, Kya Lal, who joined the voyage from Papeete, Tahiti, to Lautoka, Fiji. Kya is a lawyer with Lal Patel Bale Lawyers in Fiji and a Ph.D. candidate in Law at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, focusing her research on the impacts of climate change in the region. She has a long history of participating in United Nations Climate Change Conferences and has experienced life onboard Peace Boat as a member of the first group of Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors aboard the 95th Global Voyage.
As it was her second voyage, besides her lectures, she enjoyed her time catching up with old friends from the last trip. According to her, the experience onboard was very different from last time compared to when she was with other Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors members on the 95th Global Voyage. This time she had to conduct all of the lectures by herself without the support of her Ambassadors team, which was mildly daunting. “It has been refreshing to come back onboard and have people know more about climate change and they understand it a bit better. Instead of having to reexplain the basics of the climate change, I am able to have more of an in-depth and deliberate conversation about this issue”, she said. “It is very interesting to see that people on the 101st voyage are far more understanding of climate change as an issue and more ready with solutions. Which was not the case two years ago, where the first group of Ambassadors battled our far share of deniers. I think one of the significant reasons why people onboard the 101st are more understanding and concerned about climate change is thanks to the Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors Programme, which is now into its third cohort”, she pointed out. Many participants seemed to enjoy her events about her research and her point of view as a lawyer.
Fiji, indeed, is a country which faces significant climate impacts. In her last lecture, “Climate Impacts: Refugees & Displacement”, participants had a chance to learn about some of the more complicated issues that climate change brings. Kya explained that one of the issues facing people in Fiji was the planned relocation of a number of communities due to sea levels rising. Upon disembarking, Kya is back in the office working on cases and continuing her Ph.D. studies.
Article by Kuwabara Risa, photos by Isogai Miki