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Brisbane hearts warm to climate plight of people of the Pacific

Photo: Madeline Smith/Oxfam

By Oxfam Campaigns Brisbane intern Madeline Smith

Climate change was a popular topic of conversation this past week at the Bleeding Heart Café Gallery in Brisbane. The gallery was the first in Queensland to host the remarkable photo exhibition ‘Land is Life’ by award winning photographer Rodney Dekker. A series of ‘Land is Life’ exhibitions are showing around the country this year (keep reading below about how you or your group can host your own exhibition of these vibrant images….) documenting the impact of climate change and the effects of rising sea levels on the Pacific island nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati.

“The images really touch your heart,” said Carmen of St Lucia, one of the many visitors to the exhibition. Her sentiments signed in the exhibition guest book and comments wall proved to be a common theme throughout the week. The exhibition attracted many regular café goers plus a whole new audience of city office workers who found themselves drawn in by the striking photos. University student Miranda agreed that the images reveal a moving story of determination and resilience as the people of the Pacific battle against the odds. “It was eye opening…everyone needs to see this”, she wrote. Similarly, twenty year old Kyra was shocked to learn that rising tides are eroding the islands, polluting ground water and destroying the land and peoples livelihoods – “I hope everyone affected knows that we care”.

It was obvious from the messages posted on our comments wall that many others were motivated by the story expressed so vividly.

“I am inspired by the beautiful images and communities that are passionate about fighting and advocating for their rights, their home- their land!” – Hannah of Keperra

The exhibition is part of Oxfam Australia’s campaign to target climate change and it highlights how devastating the impacts are on these small islands and how it threatens the way of life for so many people. Messages of support were captured by people throughout the week who were confronted by what they saw.
“A developed country like ours [Australia] has a huge role to play particularly as one of the most influential countries in the Pacific. This [lack of support from the Australian government] shouldn’t be allowed to happen to islands in our region- they are our neighbors, and it is our duty to act.”- Corey of Tarragindi

The message was clear and felt by many – act now on climate change.

View the online “Land Is life” photo gallery

Help at the next Brisbane exhibition on April 17 by contacting Ann Matson

Host your own “Land is Life” exhibition – contact your local Oxfam campaigner (see below)

Debbie Hunt
(02) 8204 3943

Ann Matson
(07) 3637 4615

Judee Adams
(08) 8236 2160

Clancy Moore
(03) 9289 9332

Paddy Cullen
(08) 9262 8200