The Qaloibau family of grandmother, father and 3 children lives on the island of Vanua Levu in the Republic of Fiji. Like half of the Fijian population, the Qaloibau family’s main activities are farming, fishing and tourist guiding. Their lives are reliant on the ecosystem services of the country’s marine and coastal areas to meet daily protein needs and provide cash income.
However, extreme weather events such as droughts and heat waves are continuously occurring and have been a threat to local vulnerable communities. Cyclones are causing losses of livelihoods and homes. The increasing sea temperature is destroying the coral reefs, which are the most important tourist magnet for the region.
The Qaloibau family lost their canteen in the village and their boat during Cyclone Tomas in 2010. More recently, the tropical cyclone Winston in 2016 inundated the lands of the plaintiffs. However, the impacts they are facing are not limited to these unfortunate events. The Qaloibau family has observed many other changes in their environment in the past decade. Several crops that they used to plant (like taro or kava) are no longer growing because of the extreme temperatures. They have also observed, along with the whole community of the area, depletion of the fish reserves due to the destruction of coral reefs.
The father of the family is currently unable to properly provide for his family due to the declines in fish, harvest and revenue from eco-tourism. He is worried about his daughters’ future. The father, Petero Qaloibau, puts his faith in the “People’s Climate Case”, stating: “Never forget: What we sow today, we reap tomorrow.” He is taking action today, to survive tomorrow. He is asking the EU to be on his side, to protect his family from the worsening impacts of climate change, because his daughters deserve better. They are challenging the EU on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and requesting the equal treatment of human rights.
Please contact CAN Europe to reach out to the family.