Olivia
Yates

Project: Climate Change Displacement from the Pacific to Tāmaki Makaurau

Olivia is an environmental advocate and scholar-activist. She is the convenor of Generation Zero at the University of Auckland and has also worked on Generation Zero’s ‘Zero Carbon Act’ campaign. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of Auckland, working with Tuvaluan and I-Kiribati communities in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) to explore New Zealanders’ attitudes towards and the implications of climate change displacement in the Pacific. She is passionate about environmental justice and hopes to see Aotearoa (New Zealand) take more ambitious action on climate change. She also coordinates a creation care group, ‘Living Eden’ in her local church.

PROJECT

There is no place where the impacts of climate change are more evident than on the Pacific Islands of Tuvalu and Kiribati and we are already experiencing climate change migration to Auckland from these communities.  Despite this, there is little evidence that the voices and opinions of those displaced is being included in discussions of climate change and migration in Auckland.

As part of Olivia’s PhD in Psychology, this project is focused on bringing together the reality of climate change displacement from the perspective of Tuvaluan and Kiribati communities, with the attitudes and perceptions of Aucklanders.  It is hoped that this work can be used to inform the discussion in Auckland on climate change displacement and shape future action by Auckland Council. 

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

The planet that we all live on and share is beautiful. The people on it are beautiful, the rich cultural traditions of all peoples and nations are beautiful, and all species and parts of nature are beautiful. As a Christian, I recognise that all of these parts of our planet are ‘good’, and that we all have a collective responsibility to come together and nurture, care and protect them. This is especially true regarding the peoples of low-lying Pacific atoll nations, as, echoing the rallying cry of those in Tuvalu, “You save Tuvalu; you save the world.”