On Thursday November 21 2013, Unions and international NGO’s, including Alofa Tuvalu as part of the Board of the Climate Action Network France (RAC), decided to leave the COP19 negociations.
The objective : to protest, in solidarity with the victims of Climate Change facing the steps backward of gathered countries in Warsaw : (Japan climbing down, Australian crises, firing of the Polish Environment Minister replace with a pro shale gas)… and to send a strong message : enough is enough !
Warsaw Climate Conference of the Parties : ENOUGH !
The NGO’s joint statement:
Organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now focusing on mobilizing people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action.
We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, and with all climate impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth about COP 19 – the Warsaw Climate Conference.
In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis.
The Warsaw Conference started off on the wrong foot, with a “Coal & Climate Summit” being held in conjunction, corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue, and a Presidency that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. Things only got worse during the first week, when Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on mitigation commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously.
This week saw a “finance ministerial” with almost no actual finance, and loss and damage talks that have stalled because rich countries refuse to engage on substance. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions or support for adaptation before 2020 – and on many of these things it has actually taken us backward. And a clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing.
We as civil society are ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. But at the Warsaw Conference, developed country governments have come with nothing to offer. Developing country governments are also failing to stand up for the needs and rights of their people. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott posted a video to mark the opening of the 44th parliament, saying the ‘adults are back in charge’, as he seeks to abolish the carbon tax.
It is clear that if countries continue acting in this way, the next two days of negotiations will not deliver the climate action the world so desperately needs.
Therefore, organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is not to further engage in the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now going back to mobilize people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action. We will work to transform our food and energy systems at a national and global level and rebuild a broken economic system to create a sustainable and low-carbon economy with decent jobs and livelihoods for all. And we will put pressure on everyone to do more.
Coming out of the Warsaw Climate Conference, it is clear that without such pressure, our governments cannot be trusted to do what the world needs. We will return with the voice of the people in Lima to hold our governments accountable to the vision of a sustainable and just future.
PRESS RELEASE: June 2012
The "Tuvalu King Tides Festival" now on YouTube
The 1st edition of the "Tuvalu King Tides festival" -Tuvalu E! The Tide is High!*- took place in Funafuti-TUVALU, from Feb 26th to March 1st, 2010. During 2 days, traditional competitions and demonstrations have shown some aspects of Tuvaluan Culture through sports, handicrafts, dancing, singing, food and Tuvalu's unique talent in improvised story-telling and dramas. The objective was to raise awareness about what will be lost if the nation of Tuvalu was to disappear. Parallel awareness activities on climate targeted both children and adults, focusing on what we all can do to try to turn the tide.
A few overseas TV documented the event and a multi-camera shooting was put together by Alofa Tuvalu. This was edited in Paris into two 52 min plus a 30 min Fatele that were handed out to many concerned Tuvaluans and screened to an audience in December 2011.
*This first edition was made possible by the unified efforts of many Government ministries and NGO's. It is part of The "Small is Beautiful" (SIB) plan, one of UNESCO's Decade of Education for Sustainable Development Remarkable Actions, launched with, as a primary objective, the preservation of Tuvalu's cultural heritage and identity.
PRESS RELEASE: February 14th, 2012
Nanumea : the first Tuvalu Island to cook on Biogas !
The Alofa Tuvalu biogas team who left for Nanumea on january 13th, to complete the biogas implementation, (a project started 2 years ago in partnership with the Nanumea Kaupule and co-funded by GEF), has been sending enthusiastic progress reports.
2 days after they set foot on Nanumea Kaio wrote : “good news is that 2 digestors are producing gas.... go Nanumea go... be the first island in Tuvalu to use Bio-Gas...”. Sikeli goes on: “Now 3 of 4 watertanks are producing gas, they even had breakfast with the gas and the boys sat up an awareness workshop with 80+ attendees”.
Today on 4 plastic digester units implemented late 2010 at 4 homes designated by the Kaupule and community, 3 are successfully producing gas. The 4th unit had to be moved to another location after Isala’s passing away and will take a little longer. 4 Piggeries and 4 water tanks are right now being finished.
Several workshops were held,
gathering around 100 people each.
Sikeli Raisuqe, biogas specialist and Kaio Tiira Taula, coordinator, will be returning on the next boat
and explain more about their mission.
PRESS RELEASE: January 16th, 2012
On Friday january 13th, the Alofa Tuvalu biogas team left for Nanumea to complete the biogas implementation, a project that started 2 years ago in partnership with the Nanumea Kaupule.
On a voluntary basis and following consultations made with and by the Nanumea kaupule and communities, 4 families were designated in 2009 to recieve a plastic biogas digester unit to provide free gas for cooking.
Sikeli Raisuqe, biogas specialist and Kaio Tiira Taula, who will be acting as a facilitator and reporter, will be staying 5 weeks and come back when the 4 units are fully working.
After the implementation of the 4 units, that took place late 2010, more workshops and training will be provided on this trip. The team took with them complementary equipment : 4 water tanks, stoves, gloves, funnel and other accessories.
Nanumea kaupule being part of the Tuvalu Marine Life project, Sikeli and Kaio Taula also took with them the synthesis report for the Kaupule leaders to comment.
Gilliane & Fanny, the Alofa Tuvalu French team will be leaving this coming Thursday for their home Island.
PRESS RELEASE: January 11th, 2012
The traditional pictures exhibition has been set up at the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel by the Alofa Tuvala GO and its junior Club.
Around one thousand pictures from 2010 activities have been printed in France with the assistance of the French Embassy in Suva and are now are displayed :
- King Tides Festival including Canoe racing, coconut tree climbing, ride for fun, handicraft demonstrations, 7th Day Adventist church special service, Vaitupu/Nanumanga Fatele competition, Ano, Fagogo Malipolipo, Drama by the Red Cross children and volunteers, and…. Ka Lofia te Paneta, the Alofa Tuvalu kids awareness which happened in previous years in Europe and Tahiti… and for the first time in Tuvalu
-IRWM quiz with the Nauti and SDA primary Schools
- 2010 Garden competition
- Other Alofa Tuvalu activities such as the implementation of biogas in Nanumea
and the Marine Life survey in Funafuti, Nanumea and Nukulaelae
You are all invited to come and pick up your photo from the wall but are requested to leave them a few days for other people to see them.
PRESS RELEASE: January 10th, 2012
On January 9th, the Tuvalu foreign affairs handed out the official letter confirming the decision that passed cabinet in June 2009 nominating Gilliane Le Gallic honorary ambassador for the environment.
Cabinet had, at first, in 2007 unanimously nominated her consul of Tuvalu in France. This decision was depending on the agreement of the French Embassy in Suva. Without informing the French Ambassador of the time, a good support of Alofa Tuvalu, a civil servant had signed a letter refusing the nomination.
The Government of Tuvalu then decided to find a title that would not depend on an outside institution to thank Gilliane and Alofa Tuvalu for their continuous assistance abroad and in Tuvalu.
PRESS RELEASE: January 6th, 2012
On January 5th, the 2 Funafuti primary Schools, Nauti and SDA got a donation from 2 schools in France.
Alofa Tuvalu forwarded the 500 US$ made by HUNAMAR, a Small French NGO. After seing the Alofa Tuvalu film « Trouble in Paradise » and working on the French version of the Ka Lofia te paneta comic books, about Tuvalu and climate change, 254 French students from the South of France, a town called Marseille, decided to do a good gesture for their Tuvaluan counterparts and the planet .
They collected almost 15000 plastic bottles in 3 months. They sold the raw material for recycling and
got 500 Aus $ which they donated to Nauti and SDA.
All they wanted in return was a picture of children in Tuvalu. Yesterday, although the schools are closed and kids still in holidays, around 20 kids turned out, in uniform, in each school.
2 checks of 250$ were handed out to Temu and Tine by Gilliane and Fanny took the picture Alofa Tuvalu will give to the French students.. as a souvenir of to whom their donation went to.
PRESS RELEASE: December 16th 2011
King Tides Festival public screenings
You were many to participate in the “2010 Tuvalu Cultural King Tides festival” – Tuvalu E! The Tide is High! first edition. During 3 days, traditional competitions and demonstrations have shown some aspects of Tuvaluan Culture through sports, handicrafts, dancing, singing, food and Tuvalu’s unique talent in improvised story-telling and dramas. Activities included children awareness as well.
A multicamera shooting of the event was put together by Alofa Tuvalu and edited in Paris by Gilliane Le Gallic into two 52 min plus a 30 min Fatele.
The King Tides Festival Committee is setting up a two night public screening at the Vaiaku Maneapa. The video of the festival first day will be screened on Sunday 18th starting 7pm, activities of the second day will be projected on Monday 19th, December, starting at the same time, 7 pm. No food nor drink provided but it is free and loooooooads of fun !
PRESS RELEASE: May 2010
International Year of Biodiversity - Alofa Tuvalu plunges into the water !
Global warming affects Tuvaluan marine life as surely as sea-level rise threatens this South Pacific micro-nation with disappearance within the next few decades. As the main source of protein to the Tuvaluan people, the ocean that surrounds the archipelago is home to a vital marine biodiversity whose size and nature is still largely unknown.
For 3 years, the French and Tuvaluan NGO, Alofa Tuvalu, has been leading « Tuvalu Marine Life », an extensive study and documentation project aimed at reinforcing Tuvalu’s capacities to survey, monitor and manage its marine resources, along with increasing its local and scientific knowledge of them.
In 2009, the project’s first phase consisted of summarizing existing data and identifying gaps in knowledge. After consultations with the project’s stakeholders, 3 out of 9 islands of Tuvalu have been chosen to host the needed remaining investigations : Funafuti (the capital atoll, at the center of the archipelago), Nanumea (to the north) and Nukulaelae (to the south).
Alofa Tuvalu’s experts in marine biodiversity, Sandrine Job, Daniela Ceccarelli, Semese Alefaio, are carrying out this second phase in partnership with Tuvalu fisheries (Tupulaga Poulasi and Nikolasi Apinelu), the environment office, local governments, the NBSAP program (National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan), New Zealand Aid, University of South Pacific and others.
Data will be analyzed and shared with other existing networks. Communication tools will then be produced : a reference and patrimonial book about Tuvalu’s biodiversity and traditional knowledge, along with useful materials for local communities.
Implemented under the aegis of Unesco, the Tuvalu Marine Life project is supported by the Total Foundation for Entreprise and CRISP (Coral Initiative for the Pacific, French Agency for Development).
*The project is an integral part of the « Small is Beautiful » plan : helping Tuvalu -- the first sovereign nation threatened to be wiped off the map due to the effects of climate change -- survive as a nation and to preserve its identity and culture. These goals are addressed via a range of concrete, reproducible actions (biodiversity, energy, waste) in Tuvalu and their promotion elsewhere in the world.
Tuvalu held its first ‘King Tides Festival’ on its Capital, Funafuti from 25 February – 1st March 2010. The festival was organized by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with other departments of the government as well as a number of NGO’s, as a joint effort by the Government and the people of Tuvalu to use the king tides season in Tuvalu to promote its vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change, especially with sea-level rise. The rationale for having such festival for the first of its kind in Tuvalu is to use the negative impacts of the king tides and turn it into a positive and entertaining event.
The Permanent Secretary for Communications, Transport and Tourism, Mr. Enele Sopoaga highlighted that “The festival is not a celebration of the King Tides itself, but rather, to spread awareness of climate change throughout Tuvalu and to the world at large.” at the opening of the festival.
The festivities for the festival included the Ride for Fun competition which was held on the early hours of Friday morning. The event itself was conducted to promote the usage of bicycles hence leading to a carbon dioxide free environment. The winner of the competition was the one who rode the slowest, and this prompted quite an excited reaction from the crowd. The event was quickly followed by demonstrations from women from the eight islands of Tuvalu – one from the North, Central and South divisions of the country. The women from the three areas were more than eager to answer questions posed to them by tourists and bystanders, as well as show and teach any of the onlookers who wanted to learn how to make certain traditional items.
In the afternoon, around 200 people flocked to the lagoon side as the canoe race began. As motorboats were becoming more and more common on the capital, the event was focused on the revival of the traditional canoe of the Tuvalu people. The women’s canoe race proved to be the most memorable event of the festival as the third place canoe sped up to claim first place after a little navigational problems faced by the first place canoe. Cheers of amusement and approval met the first prize winners as they were presented with their award.
The coconut tree climbing competition that followed was one that was eagerly anticipated. As the capital had grown in development, coconut climbing skills had greatly dwindled in the past years as people become more career-oriented, therefore the competition focused on reviving this skill. The crowd got more than they had anticipated as the climber with four seconds walked away with the first prize.
As schools were out by that time, children flocked from all over to participate in the children’s Ride for Fun event. All participants were given red shirts with “Tuvalu King Tides Festival” printed on it and had quite the time of their lives riding from north to south of the airstrip while being filmed by overseas journalists. Around 30 children registered for the event while others joined in at the last minute.
Following traditions, a game of ano – traditional Tuvaluan ball game – ensued with the two teams consisting of all the ministries of the government. It was a huge success as the two teams completely enjoyed themselves and the game proved to be quite the entertainment for onlookers.
Later on in the evening it was time to sit back, relax and enjoy as the Vaitupu and Nanumaga youth entertained the people with their fatele performances. It was the highlight of the evening as some of the foreigners present stood up and took part in dancing, clearly showcasing Tuvalu’s tradition of participating when one is overjoyed by the performance. Of course, all of this was captured on film by the journalists from (list of journalists present).
On Saturday morning, the Environmental Awareness Program started where guest speakers from ministries and organizations concerned with Climate Change took to the stage and presented their views. The voice of the children was a significant highlight of the day as two students from both the Nauti Primary School and the Seventh Day Adventist Primary moved the audience with their plea to Tuvalu people and to the world at large to lower their gas emissions to save their future. As the SDA student, Ratu .. said, “It is hard to believe that the responsibility has been placed on our shoulders, but we must learn as a race that we cannot take what we have for granted. We take much and give back so little.” The event was conducted in the Tuvaluan language and was made a national event via live broadcast on Radio Tuvalu.
The Alofa Tuvalu Awareness Program of “Our Planet Under Water” was then carried out for the enjoyment of both children and adults alike. The 100 plus children that participated walked away with books, posters and not to mention knowledge as they went around the different booths which carried out different activities that focused on climate causes, consequences and solutions. Despite the rainy weather that evening, people gathered at the falekaupule – meeting hall - to watch the film “Home” – a documentary about Climate Change.
A special Sunday service was due to be held on Sunday acknowledging the King Tides Festival. However, due to the tsunami warning that was issued on the early hours of Sunday, the service was cancelled. At the closing of the festival, Kilifi O’Brien – the MC – mentioned that it was a good thing that the various overseas journalists were present during the tsunami warning for not only we they able to see but most importantly to feel how the Tuvaluans feel at such events. With relation to climate change, Mr. O’Brien stated that, “You have now experienced the feeling that every Tuvaluan faces with the issue of sea-level rise – of having no place to go.”
The festival was officially closed by the Minister of Communications, Transport and Tourism, Mr. Taukelina Finikaso at the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel. Mr. Taukelina also announced that, “[He was] happy to announce that the King Tides Festival will now be held as an annual event in the years to come.” He then continued to give special thanks to the R.O.C. (Taiwan) Embassy of Tuvalu, Alofa Tuvalu, Tuvalu Overview, Tuvalu Red Cross Society, Taiwan ICDF, Environment Department and its project coordinators, NGOs, and others who had contributed to make the event a huge success.
PRESS RELEASE: Mars 2010
EARTH HOUR 2010 : TUVALU STRIKES AGAIN !
In 2009, Tuvalu, the tiniest nation on earth, was the only country to cut off the power from the source. In 2010, the Earth Hour committee, composed of members of TuCAN achieved even more than powering down the 9 islands of the archipelago : the Governement decided to limit road traffic to non fossil fuel vehicles as well.
48 hours prior to Earth Hour, placards were posted on the capital islands and radio announcements informed the population on all islands.
On March 27th, At 7h30pm the committee members met for last preparations. Were present : Tafue Lusama, president of Tuvalu Climate action network, Tataua Pese (Red cross), Semese Alefaio and Taukiei Kitara (Tango), Melton Taueia (SNC, Island Care), Apinelu Tili (island townhall), Fatoga Talama (tuvalu electricity corporation), Gilliane Le Gallic and sarah hemstock (Alofa Tuvalu).
Semese harnessed himself to climb to the top of the telecom tower to catch a view of the turning off and on lights, while other members went around to film whatever could be seen in the dark.
The hospital personal turned off the light but for the safety of patients, the building was not cut off as last year. Patients took the opportunity to organize a choir. The police went around stopping the few bikers who had not been informed, while a telecom team was on site to check the climbing of their tower. Tuvalu Electricity Corporation’s personnel were on duty as well to insure smooth cutting off operations.
This year as previous years, people dealt with the lack of electricity in a variety of ways : candles, torch lights, computers on battery, but many of them were enjoying the moon outside their home and many met on the runway.
Over 600 kg of carbon dioxide were saved on electricity and this does not include the saving from stopped vehicles.
Tuvalu’s 1st edition of its “Cultural King Tides festival” – Tuvalu ! The Tide is High! – will take place during the next king tides, the highest tides of the year, from Feb 26th to March 1st, when most of the capital island is submerged by sea water coming through the ground.
Today global warming is the most serious issue humans have to solve. The remote and sparsely populated archipelago of Tuvalu is a microcosm of the environmental issues we all face. It is also the first sovereign nation faced with becoming uninhabitable due to climate change. If Tuvalu is to disappear, not only a land would be wiped off the maps, but a whole nation with its unique society, culture and traditions will be erased from the Human diversity spectrum.
Determined not to let their cultural patrimony -- a remote part of the world’s heritage -- slip away, the Tuvaluan people have devised this plan to display, perform and record multiple cultural activities to take place at a most symbolic period of time.
Little is known about Tuvalu’s culture. Although, it is believed that the Pacific was settled 6000 years ago, the discovery of underwater caves in Nanumaga, one of Tuvalu’s northern islands, indicates that human could have settled much earlier. In 1861, the arrival of missionaries (London Missionary Society-LMS), might have changed Tuvalu’s beliefs and religious traditions forever. What is lost is lost and the archipelago will keep some of its mysteries forever but there is an unquestionable need for preserving what is left .
During 3 days, traditional competitions and demonstrations will show some aspects of Tuvaluan Culture through sports, handicrafts, dancing, singing, food and Tuvalu’s unique talent in improvised story-telling and dramas. The objective is to raise awareness about what will be lost if Tuvalu’s nation was to disappear both to the new generations and to the world at large. Parallel activities on climate causes, consequences and solutions will target both children and adults, focusing on what we all can do to try to turn the tide.
This first edition of the Tuvalu Cultural King Tides Festival is made possible by the unified efforts of many Government ministries and NGO’s*. It is part of The “Small is Beautiful” (SIB) plan, one of UNESCO’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development Remarkable Actions, launched with, as a primary objective, the preservation of Tuvalu’s cultural heritage and identity.
Contact : email@example.com
The organizers : The original committee :
Ministry of Communication and tourism
Ministry of natural resources and environment
Ministry of Home Affairs, cultural department
Ministry of Education and schools
Department of Tourism
Tuvalu Media Department
Public Works Department
Chamber of Commerce
Lodging Association (Filamona, Vaiaku Lagi Hotel)
Some of the other participants :
Tuvalu National Council of Women
Schools on Funafuti (the capital of Tuvalu)
PRESS RELEASE: December 2009
Tuvalu in Copenhagen : 1,5° maximum
Ø In the heart of the negotiations, Tuvalu accentuates the urgency of a massive decrease of GHG emissions. Determined to attempt everything to stay on their ancestral land, the symbolic nation is calling, with AOSIS, for a limitation of the world temperature
increase to below 1,5° Celcius of pre-industrial level.
Ø A the Cop15 Bella Center, during 2 weeks, members of the Tuvaluan delegation- comprised of Government representatives and NGO (Tucan/Tango, Tuvalu Overview and Alofa Tuvalu*) will exhibit some of the concrete solutions in progress on the archipelago to reach fossil fuel independence by 2020.
Ø At the Prins Henrik French Lycee, Mrs Nala Ielemia, Tuvalu First Lady and Alofa Tuvalu‘s patron, will share with the students some of the solutions to slow down climate change. This will be the opportunity to release « Vores planet under Vand », the last (and 12th) version of « Our planet under water», Alofa Tuvalu’s comic book.
* Since 2004, the French-Tuvaluan NGO is driving the Small is Beautiful plan, a community project and one of UNESCO’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development Remarkable Actions. It aims at helping Tuvalu survive as a nation and if possible, stay on its ancestral land via the implementation of concrete solutions, immediately useful to Tuvalu and, by reproduction, to the rest of the world.
PRESS RELEASE : June 2009
Environment Day in Tuvalu
Friday 5th of June is World Environment Day. The global theme is : The Planet needs you: ìManage, Protect and Preserveî with a focus on waste.
In Tuvalu, activities were planned over 10 days by the coordinating committee. They will start on June 5th with an Alofa Tuvalu demonstration, hands on a gasifier (one of the purchases from the US by the NGO) which was officially demonstrated for the 1st time, on Amatuku, May 18th by TMTI engineers and Gilles Vaitilingom, Alofa Tuvalu’s specialist.
The gasifier, a GEK, is turning any dry chopped organic waste into a gas to be used either for cooking or put in the grid. This smallest gasifier on the planet is powerful enough to cover more than half the consumption of diesel for electricity in most outer islands.
Demonstration of Biodiesel (transforming coconut oil into Diesel via a chemical process in a small equipment called Fuelpod (purchased in France) will be demonstrated as well on Friday June 5th.
As per previous workshops, Alofa Tuvalu is posting registration forms at most stores and public places on the island for all interested people & community groups to sign their name. Poster will be picked up Thursday Noon. Boats leaving Luopou at 7.45 am on friday. Back before 12.
Alofa Tuvalu is also receiving this week new equipment – an electric bike and 3 types of solar ovens- which will be made available for demonstration as well.
On Saturday 6th,World Environment day activities include : A drama competition and a Trash fashion show, with prices ranging from 50 to 300 is being organized by the Red Cross and the Funafuti Youth.
The Tuvalu Media is also taking part in this World environment day and will keep you updated with the activities.
PRESS RELEASE May 2009 :
Workshop in Amatuku on monday may, the 18th 2009
After the 2008 biodiesel demonstration at the Vaiaku maneapa and the gazifier built by the TMTI engineers, this year Alofa Tuvalu is implementing a biodiesel unit and gazifier for production in Amatuku.
This week, the equipment, purchased in Europe for one and the US for the other, allowed Alofa Tuvalu’s specialist Gilles Vaitilingom, to provide the first training sessions to the TMTI engineers and staff as well as to the trainees.
Next week, on Monday morning, 9 am, a workshop on how to transform coconut oil into diesel and dry organic leaves into gas will be held in Amatuku.
Both equipment will help decrease Tuvalu energy bill and cut its Greenhouse gas emissions. The capacities of these small machines would be sufficient to provide the whole electricity supply in 7 outer islands. Bigger machines are available for the bigger islands of Vaitupu and Funafuti.
Tuvalu is the first Pacific country to own a gasifier and will be one of the very few nations to produce its own real biodiesel. Another option to replace diesel is to mix it into pure coconut oil. However, that would mean to change the engines. Alofa Tuvalu chose to transform coconut oil into biodiesel to keep users away from expensive investments.
To allow Alofa Tuvalu and TMTI to arrange transportation to Amatuku, anyone interested will be able to register by signing their names on forms which will be posted at many locations in town. Registration will be closed Saturday at 5 pm.
Departure from Luopo at 8 am, Monday
PRESS RELEASE April 2009 :
Alofa Tuvalu « Our Planet Under Water, Big Top Event » is heading for French Polynesia
on April 22nd and 23rd 2009
After the Unesco World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in Bonn, where « Small is Beautiful », the assistance plan in Tuvalu, was the only French initiative amongst the 25 projects in the world carrying the Unesco ESD label, Alofa Tuvalu is heading for French Polynesia.
To celebrate Earth Day 2009, Jour de la Terre, Alofa Tuvalu and Te Mana o Te Moana are organizing “Our Planet Under Water, Big Top Event” at the Papeete town hall gardens on April 22nd and 23rd.
A fundamental part of the French/Tuvaluan NGO’s program since 2005, “Our Planet Under Water, Big Top Event” is a multimedia event designed to educate children about climate change using Tuvalu as an example. This event is proposed to municipalities, in parallel to the training programs carried out in Tuvalu about energy, waste valorization, biodiversity, ...
At the Big Top event in Papeete, the comic book “Our Planet Under Water” will be released in Tahitian. This pedagogical tool produced by Alofa Tuvalu and ADEME for 9 to 14 year old children is now out in 10 languages.
The NGO will be represented by Susie Kofe - Alofa Tuvalu’s President in Tuvalu, former President for Human Rights, lawyer and teacher - and Fanny Héros, Project Coordinator.
This first event in Polynesia has received the support of the Ministry of the Environment of the Polynesian Government, the city of Papeete, ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency), the Pacific Fund, IFRECOR, the Regional Council of Ile de France, ETC (European Television Center)...
Alofa Tuvalu is participating in the fight against global warming through its program “Small is Beautiful.” Tuvalu, the first nation threatened to be submerged under sea level, has pledged to respect the protection of its environment since 2005.
TUVALU EARTH HOUR 2009 REPORT, march 2009 :
The only country where the power was cut from the source!
Tuvalu, the tiniest nation on earth and the most vulnerable to Climate Change, was the only country, on March 28 2009th, to take into account Earth Hour, nationally, by powering down the whole country. Saving 284 kg Co2 on the main island.
In 2009, following up on last year’s first shot at Earth Hour, the Tuvalu Climate Action Network (TUCAN) chose to have the activity pass cabinet and to make Earth Hour a national event : the power was cut from the Tuvalu Electricity Corporation on the 9 islands of the archipelago.
This year only one preparation meeting was necessary to coordinate the event. Members of TUCAN, the organization coordinating Earth Hour in Tuvalu. One week before the planned members met : Semese Alefaio (TANGO, a marine life specialist, acting in the absence of President Tafaue Lusama defending the cause abroad), Tataua Pese (Red Cross), Hilia Vavae (Met Office), Gilliane Le Gallic (Alofa Tuvalu), It is to be noted that all are founding members of the Alofa Tuvalu NGO. Solomona Metia represented the Environment Office.
Was decided to reproduce last year strategy by updating the paper to be presented to Cabinet meeting 2 days prior to the event. It was also decided to communicate to the population prior to the event and internationally after it took place with a press release and a video to be posted .
A few days before March 28th, Semese organized radio interviews and announcements, while Tataua was translating the e-poster received by the international coordinators (who had failed to drop some printed documents at the high commission in Suva). For the video, Gilliane was to film the coast and government building from the Australian Navy patrol boat in Funafuti Lagoon. Solomona to shoot drive by sequences along the 13rd km of tar sealed road on the Fongafale atoll. Sarah Hemstock (Alofa Tuvalu’s biomass scientist) and Melton Tauetia (Climate Change officer and Alofa Tuvalu’s general secretary) who arrived the day before, offered to to be at Tuvalu Electricity Cooporation, and at the south end of the island.
A survey the Friday before the planned Earth Hour Day revealed that if the GoT building was not lit prior to the cut, there would not be anything to see. Stepping out of the boat, Solofa Uota, Secretary of Government, was reached to get the authorization to turn on the bulding’s lights 5 mins before the cut. Solofa immediately offered to come himself to make sure it would be done. Agreement was made with the Patrol boat captain too.
Friday night, Tataua printed his draft of poster for submitting to Semese, Sarah and Gilliane. Few small changes and Tataua rush to print them and pass them around to Semese, Solomona and Sarah for them to go around Saturday morning to post them in public places with explanations as to why the event was taking place and its relevance to Tuvalu.
On Saturday night everyone was getting ready and kind of met by chance at the hotel, at around 7.30. Sarah went to check at TEC how she could get in to film and realized there was no one there and no one knew that the electricity had to be shut down. On her way back she met Tataua who had had the same info and was looking for Solofa to resolve this issue as clearly TEC had not been warned by GoT. Solofa made himself immediately available and went, with Tataua, to inform Mafalu who gathered his team in less than 15 mins. At the said hour, the power was cut. Only in Tuvalu can this happen ! And only in Tuvalu did Earth Hour lasted 90 mins !
People dealt with the lack of electricity in a variety of ways : candles mostly but also torch lights and vehicles lights and everyone we had a chance to interview were quite pleased about participating in the event and not bothered about the inconvenience.
In the rush, though, the hospital was turned off too for something like 1/2h. Power was turned back on, luckily without incident.
Apart from making sure this does not happen anymore, another obvious lesson learned is to make sure more than once that TEC is informed. Among other abnormalities pointed out by Tataua and seen on video, one store, JY , seemed to have done ´ business as usual ª and run generators.
Thanks all the Tuvaluans who took up the challenge to make of the tiniest nation on earth,
the most threatened by Climate Change, the only state to cut its power from the source : the Electricity provider ! And to save around 300 kg of Co2 nationally.
In Tuvalu, in many aspects of life, things can happen faster than anywhere else in the world. In Tuvalu time has another value and in Tuvalu, the video edited for immediate release is awaiting being screened by the Tucan members who did participate before being released.
A short press release extracted from this report will be sent to international media.
We take the opportunity of this to allow ourselves to correct WWF’s mistake in reporting the event : locating Tuvalu in Fiji and calling Tuvalu’s capital ìSuvaî !!!!! TUVALU and FIJI are 2 different sovereign nations. Suva is Fiji’s capital while TUVALU’s capital is FUNAFUTI.
PRESS RELEASE March 2009 :
Tuvalu – A French environmentalist appointed
Tuvalu Honorary Consul in France
Tuvalu’s Cabinet endorses Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia’s proposal to appoint Gilliane Le Gallic -- journalist, film director and president of the NGO Alofa Tuvalu -- Tuvalu’s Honorary Consul in France.
The relationship of trust between Tuvalu and Ms.Le Gallic began in 2003 while she was shooting the documentary « Trouble in Paradise » about climate change effects on the archipelago. Moved by the imminent threat hanging over the tiny, low-lying nation, Ms. Le Gallic created the « Small is Beautiful » (SiB) assistance plan with the objective of helping Tuvalu survive as a nation via a range of concrete actions to address global warming. These are designed to be immediately useful to Tuvalu and replicable elsewhere in places with similar challenges.
In 2005, on behalf of the Tuvalu Government and with the support of France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its renewable energy agency, ADEME, Ms. Le Gallic coordinated a national energy audit whose recommendations have now been integrated in the country energy policy. One of them, the building of a national renewable energy demonstration and training center began in 2006, is becoming a reality thanks to many supporters, including Unesco who made SiB one of its « Education Decade for Sustainable Development Remarquable Actions »*.
Ms. Le Gallic is presently in Tuvalu preparing a 4-month mission for the Alofa Tuvalu team who`ll follow up on last year’s public demonstrations made by Gilles Vaitilingom (CIRAD) :
coprah biodiesel production to fuel unmodified engines ; biogas from husk and shell
carbonisation ; and ethanol from sweet coconut sap (Todi) production, a first. The mission also forsees the continuation of study of appropriate on-site adaptation solutions and plans for « worst case scenario evacuation » by lobbying for the establishment of an official climate refugee status for Tuvalu’s citizens and by identifying a suitable new homeland where the nation can be resettled and where its culture and traditions may live on.
By this appointment, Tuvalu is officializing Ms. Le Gallic’s NGO Ambassador for Environment’s status, which has already contributed to bringing to light Tuvalu’s circumstances, both real and as a symbol of what awaits us all if we do nothing.
*« Small is Beautiful » will be presented at the Unesco World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development taking place from March 31 to April 2, 2009 in Bonn, Germany.
PRESS RELEASE NOVEMBER 2008
« Hallo, Aarde ! », the Flemish version of “Our Planet Under Water” will be presented at the 5th International Weather Forum at the Brussels' Atomium, during a press conference held by Alofa Tuvalu with Ademe and Petits Débrouillards on November 5th at 11am.
Three years after its first release in French, the comic book created by Alofa Tuvalu and the ADEME continues raising children’s awareness about their impact on the environment and climate change through the discovery of Tuvalu. There are now eight translations available.
The comic book is one of the cornerstones of the multi-media educational event on climate change « Our Planet Under Water, Big Top Event », which Alofa Tuvalu has presented to French municipalities for three years now, with the help of the ADEME and the Regional Council of Ile de France, in collaboration with Planète Sciences and Petits Débrouilards.
The Flemish version was realized thanks to Harry Winjberg, Chairman of Liser (Living space for environmental refugees), Jill Peeters, weather broadcaster at vtm, EMS trophy winner in 2008, writer and goodwill ambassador for the European Commission in the struggle against Global Warming and Cyril Josset, General Secretary of Alofa Tuvalu in Belgium.
On November 5th at 11:00 AM, ADEME, The Nicolas Hulot Foundation and the Petits Débrouillards will open their booth at the Forum for a press conference. Will be present : a representative from Tuvalu, Alofa Tuvalu, France Weather Association, Mrs Jill Peeters. An opportunity to raise awareness further about the threat Tuvalu is facing to be submerged due to sea level rise and to present « Hallo Aarde », “Our Planet under water” flemlish version.. The meeting will be. followed with a drink.
PRESS RELEASE JULY 2008
Tuvalu opening diplomatic office in Brussels
Mr Panapasi Nelesone, arrived in Brussels in May 2008 to begin a 2-year assignment as Tuvalu’s Ambassador to Europe. This marks Tuvalu’s 3rd international diplomatic mission.
With approximately 26 sq. kilometres of total landmass, the low-lying archipelago nation of Tuvalu is one of the earth’s smallest and most threatened country by Climate Change.
Tuvalu’s first overseas office was opened in 1976 in Suva Fiji followed, in 2001, by a Mission to the UN in New York, headed by Mr Enele Sopoaga.
Mr. Nelesone has been Tuvalu’s Secretary of Government since 2000. His first European official intervention, initiated by the NGO Alofa Tuvalu, took place at the Conference on Climate Migrations organized in the European Parliament, Brussels, on June 11th 2008 by the Greens/EFA group.
Mr Nelesone is accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Misalaima Nelesone.
Tuvalu produces its first biofuels
for Earth Day 2008
After the first biogas digester ever built in a atoll country, in 2007, Alofa Tuvalu, a French Tuvaluan NGO, working both in Tuvalu and abroad, pursued in 2008, its biomass implementation. On April 26th, the first production of coconut biodiesel and petrol from “todi” (fermented coconut tree sap) was demonstrated.
Tuvalu is the earth's first sovereign nation threatened with becoming totally uninhabitable due to Climate change. It is also the first country too to have started a coherent plan to fight CO2 emissions and fuel increases. In 2006 Alofa Tuvalu’s Renewable Energy Training Center project passed cabinet and parliament. First construction and workshops started in 2007.
The 2008 demonstration of biofuels drew a big crowd and involved many officials. Gilles Vaitilingom, Alofa Tuvalu’s scientist, one of the biofuel world specialists, showed and explained to an audience of over 200 people how to transform coconut oil into biodiesel and todi in petrol. The demonstration ended with todi petrol filling a motorbike tank which started under the audiences applauds.
Far from the passionate debates of “food versus biofuels”, the idea in Tuvalu is to use the material which has not been used for food, on each island. Copra was the main source of income for poor outer island farmers for several decades prior to industry collapse in 2002. By partially replacing diesel used by the interisland boats using locally produced coconut biodiesel it will be possible to re-start the copra industry in the outer-islands when Interislands boat services are currently threatened with stopping due to oil barrel prices regular rises.
A week later, from Gilles Vaitilingom’s sketches, the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute’s team of engineers built a gasifier with material available on the islet and trained around 20 people. It is planned to use the gas to produce electricity for the school. 1,5 kg of organic waste is transformed into 1KWA.
After a first series in 2007, Alofa Tuvalu launched a second series of daily radio programs about biofuel, gasification, biogas, waste and energy efficiency…
The idea for Tuvalu is to become a model to be reproduced elsewhere in order to participate in a global climate movement, with the hope of being able to stay on their land.
It is also around Earth Day that Alofa Tuvalu’s President, Gilliane Le Gallic was offered the title of Ambassador for Environment by Apisai Ielema, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister.
contact : HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
PRESS RELEASE SPRING 2008 (in Tuvalu)
Al Gore and debate
Press release – 26/05/08
About 150 people turned out to watch the Alofa Tuvalu’s Climate Change evening at the Vaiaku Falekaupule last night.
Starting at half past seven the Al Gore movie - An inconvenient truth - was screened and the audience got the opportunity to learn about the tremendous increase of Carbon Dioxide CO2 man had been emitting into the atmosphere since the 1950.
The audience also learned about rising temperature which goes in parallel with CO2 numbers and provokes glaciers to melt, sea level to rise and climate to change.
Right after the film discussions started, where a panel that composed of Enele Sopoaga, permanent secretary of Foreign Affairs, and Tuvalu’s chief negotiator at International Climate Change negotiations, Kitiona Tausi – General Secretary of Tuvalu ‘s main Church, Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu, Sarah Hemstock from Alofa Tuvalu, Semese Alefaio from the coral reefs project, Melton Tauetia from the persistent organic pollutants-POPS project and Kilifi O’Brien from the Environment department, and was conducted by reverend Tafue Lusama.
In the audience: the Minister of Finance Lotoala Metia, minister of Home Affairs Willy Telavi, and Dr. Daniel Liao Taiwan’s Ambassador to Tuvalu.
Gilliane Le Gallic, Alofa Tuvalu’s initiator, told Tuvalu news the Organisation is considering organising such events in the outer islands in order for everyone to be able to share their feelings and thoughts on the topic.
PRESS RELEASE DECEMBER 2007
Now available in seven languages, the comic book “Our Planet Under Water” will be present in Bali
10 years after the historic signing of the Kyoto Protocol, and on the eve of the UN Bali Summit, the comic book about Tuvalu and climate change “Our Planet Under Water” will be released in its 6th and 7th version: Portuguese and Tuvaluan.
The original French version, “A l’eau la Terre”, was launched in October 2005 for the first « Big Top Event », a weeklong initiative for school children, which took place outside Paris in Clichy-Sous-Bois. The 350000 copies, published by the French-Tuvaluan NGO Alofa Tuvalu and the ADEME - the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, are being distributed in schools, environmental festivals, and conferences in France and other French-speaking countries. The distribution of the comic book is often accompanied by the projection of “Trouble In Paradise,” a documentary film by Gilliane Le Gallic and Chris Horner. This film led to the creation of the assistance plan initiated by Alofa Tuvalu, “Small Is Beautiful” (SIB). The film and comic book are among the most important tools of the SIB program.
The English version, “Our Planet Under Water”, was published a few months later in early 2006 in response to a request by the ADEME regional office in India. Hugo, a young westerner, Mamaua, the Tuvaluan girl and the little flea Sib, the custodian of our environment, conquered the Pacific (the Maldives, Tuvalu, Australia, New Zealand), before arriving in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Last March, the ADEME and Alofa Tuvalu were at the Paris Book Fair to announce new releases in Thai, Vietnamese and Tamil, in partnership with the Thai Electricity Company (put real name) and the Maldives Environment Ministry. And more translations are underway.
In November 2007, the release of the Portuguese version “O nosso Planeta Debaixo de Agua!”, coincided with the European Environment Days in Lisbon. Printed thanks to the ADEME, the Portuguese version was translated by a Portuguese architect, David Valentim, a member of the NGO.
And finally the latest version to date: the symbolic translation in Tuvaluan “Ka Lofia Te Paneta”, a collective venture by a group of teachers, a young adolescent, Lasela, and a professional translator, Pua. It is being printed in Fiji by SOPAC/PIEPSAP, and brings to 7 the number of available translations.
“Our Planet Under Water”, Hugo, Mamanu and Sib will be in Bali for the 13th Climate Change Conference. Pepetua Latasi, from the Tuvalu Environment Office, will present the “Tuvalu National Renewable Energy Training Center” recently launched on an islet of the capitol atoll by Alofa Tuvalu, again with the support of the ADEME.
Alofa Tuvalu was created to help the smallest nation on earth – and the most vulnerable to climate change – but hopes this seed will germinate to serve the entire planet. The success of “Our Planet in the Water” proves that federating energies around a common good is possible. We all are Tuvalu!
Contact : email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info about the association’s recent activities, please see our “Newsletter to our Tuvaluan Friends-Fall 2007”
PRESS RELEASE AUGUST 2007
ALOFA TUVALU COMPLETES PHASE 1 OF THE TUVALU NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY TRAINING CENTER IN AMATUKU : BIOGAS DIGESTOR USING PIG-WASTE FEEDSTOCK
Part of the Alofa Tuvalu 2005 decade-long plan « Small is Beautiful », chosen by UNESCO as one of the Remarkable Actions for the Decade of Sustainable Development, the construction of the Tuvalu National Training Center on renewable energy was officially launched in April 2007.
When completed, the Alofa Tuvalu renewable energy center will allow Tuvaluans to be trained in at least 5 technologies tackling first the biomass arena: biogas, biodiesel, gasification. The objective being to spread the knowledge beyond Amatuku, beyond Tuvalu.
On April 13th, an opening workshop gathered over 80 people. Prepared by Alofa Tuvalu members, Christopher Horner (environmental architect and co-author of Trouble in Paradise), Susie Kofe (president of the Tuvaluan branch), Eti Esala (vice president), Semese Alefaio and many others, the presentation was opened by Panapasi Nelesone, Secretary of Government and Uili Telavi, Minister of Home Affairs. Also present :Nala Ielemia, patron of the association ; Tavau Teii, Minister of Natural Resources ; Taukelina Finikaso, Minister of Energy, was represented by his spouse, Risasi Finikaso, treasurer of Alofa Tuvalu.
That day, presentation of the biogas digestor and piggery was made by Sikeli Raisuqe, specialist at the Fijian Ministry of Agriculture, with interventions from Susie Kofe, Gilliane Le Gallic, President of Alofa Tuvalu’s parisian office and Saufatu Sopoaga, former prime minister and Energy minister, first official supporter of the Small is Beautiful and Amatuku projects in 2005 along with Apisai Ielemia, present Prime Minister, then Vaitupu MP.
Construction on this first-ever digestor on a coral island started the day after. Over 8 weeks, 3 on-site workshops allowed 40 Tuvaluans to understand the building and functionning of a biogas unit (a 8m3 Camartec dome type). Several TMTI staff and residents meetings were coordinated by Sarah Hemstock, Alofa Tuvalu biomass consultant.
The digestor was finalized and the new piggery housing pigs by late June, allowing to begin the production of biogas. The « gas distribution » workshop will be led by Sikeli Raisuqe and prepared by the Alofa Tuvalu National Committee members which also includes Tito Isala, Penieli Metia, Melton Tauetia, Utala Taloka, Tataua Pese, Luisa and Sakala .
Next : Before the end of the year, the association will be implementing its second digestor (from human waste this time) and starting development on coprah biodiesel and gasification from other organic waste.
The Amatuku National Renewable Energy Demo and Training Center is following the recommendations of the 2006 energy study financed by the Fonds Pacifique and ADEME. ADEME is also a major partner on the present biomass implementation. Amongst the other partners : SOPAC/PIEPSAP, TMTI, Alpha Pacific Navigation, SPREP/PIGGAREP and many other supports.
Contact : email@example.com
Other Alofa Tuvalu activities during this spring trip in Funafuti included :
Production of a daily radio series about energy efficiency and waste airing from Environment
day, june 5th, till October 6th 2007) : 100 little tricks one can do to help Tuvalu and.. you ! Co financed by the Taiwanese Embassy
Writing of the national energy strategies and activities, and discussions about waste with concerned responsibles.
Participation with Red Cross, Island Care and many government branches in Environment Day June 5th and Clean up day, radio communication about the events.
Participation on the environment act redaction by Sprep and the Environment Office.
Translation of « Our Planet Under Water » comic into Tuvaluan. 2000 copies will be printed in Fiji by SOPAC/PIEPSAP .
Picture exhibition : more than 500 Tuvaluan people and many events
DVD distribution of events shot in 2006
Tuvalu International Francophone Press Club Cards renewal distribution to usual journalists
general meetings of the Alofa Tuvalu national association to review constitution and elect committee members
And many more : see blog in french and pre report in english on www.alofatuvalu.tv
Earth day 2007 in Tuvalu
Tuvalu, the most vulnerable nation on earth to global warming, participated in Earth Day for the first time this year with 2 main events.
To join in, at its small scale, the fight against global warming, the National Renewable Energy Training Centre was launched by Alofa Tuvalu, a French-Tuvaluan aid organization, at the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute. Construction began with an official launch on April 13th. The first hands on workshop, organized around the building of the first demonstration biogas digester and piggery, took place on April 18th. The second on site workshop was on May 3rd when digester construction was almost finalized. Another set of workshops will take place when the first gas is produced in about 6 weeks time. Each workshop was composed of 40 participants, with an almost equal number of men and women from different communities and groups.
A second symbolic grassroots event was initiated by Tuvalu Red Cross aimed at raising awareness about waste. On Saturday May 5th, around one hundred committed Tuvaluans participated to a clean up campaign on the Capital Island of Funafuti, marching on more than half the length of the island, along the 3 mains roads and airfield, retrieving dozens of bags of rubbish, mainly plastic and cans. Another major clean up campaign planned later this year at the national level will involve most associations and Tuvaluan communities.
Waste is a major issue in Tuvalu, the 2nd smallest nation on earth. Increase in consumption of imported goods has been massive over the last 10 years, creating unsanctioned landfills here and there. On such a small area of land, with a high population density, waste is an eyesore and a health hazard. Alofa Tuvalu considers solutions are on the way. Changing habits will take time, as elsewhere, but in Tuvalu, change might happen quickly as consumption has not yet become engrained in Tuvaluan society and strong community bonds lead people to act for the benefit of the wider community. Deals will be made with importers and exporters from overseas countries and awareness campaigns about the value of waste are on the way - biogas being one of them.
Press release March 2007
ALOFA TUVALU Renewable Energy Training Center: construction of the first biogas digesters.
An Alofa Tuvalu team is headed for Tuvalu to launch the construction of the first biogas digester units: the 1st step of the “Amatuku Micro Model” created by the French/Tuvaluan NGO to enable the Tuvaluan People to learn hands-on how to set up and maintain Renewable Energy Technologies.
The Amatuku Micro Model is an effective, practical 1st step in the 10-year plan “Small is Beautiful”: assisting Tuvalu, the symbol of climate change vulnerability, to become a living, breathing, replicable model of an environmentally exemplary nation.
An integral part of the Renewable Energy Study recommendations made by Alofa Tuvalu specialists Pierre Radanne and Sarah Hemstock, the “Amatuku Micro Model” will become the example to be reproduced nationwide on the 9 islands of the archipelago as well as the maintenance hub for the project.
With biomass as a first objective, the “Amatuku Micro Model” will combine all proven RET: biogas from pigs and human waste, copra biodiesel, gasification from organic waste, a small windmill, thermal solar, PV systems, solar streetlights and compost toilets.
The “Amatuku Micro Model” is being implemented with the support of the Ademe (French Energy Management Agency) and in partnership with the Government of Tuvalu and TMTI (Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute). TMTI’s teachers, staff and families, students and women’s groups who have shown interest in the project will be trained first. The idea is for trainees to become instructors to pass their new knowledge along.
Alofa Tuvalu’s construction material was blocked several months in Fiji but the mobilization of the Alofa Tuvalu local team, coordinated by Cpt John Hensford in Fiji and Eti Esala in Tuvalu, finally succeeded in getting the shipment of sand, cement bags and bricks conveyed to the Amatuku islet. Christopher Horner, architectural consultant, Sikeli Raisuqe, biogas specialist and Anare Matakiviti (SOPAC) are on their way to launch the construction and first workshops. Gilliane Le Gallic, project initiator, and Sarah Hemstock will make the trip in April and will stay until July 2007.
Tuvalu launches its first national water awareness campaign for Earth Day 2006
While the Tuvaluan parliament discussed Alofa Tuvalu’s project on implementing renewable energies for the country, around Earth Day, Tuvalu International Waters Project launched a National Water Plan consultation, including a 2 month national campaign : "Think Compost Toilet"
Tuvalu is the earth's first sovereign nation threatened with becoming totally uninhabitable to due global-warming related flooding, within the next 50 years. Funafuti, its capital atoll, is a small community of only 4000 people and many people are living on daily incomes of less that $AUD4 per day. During high tides and heavy rains it is likely that contaminated effluent from soakage pits is overflowing into low-lying residential areas, putting people at risk from illnesses such as hepatitis, typhoid, gastroenteritis and diarrhea, that are a leading cause of death, in many Pacific Island communities, particularly in children under five years of age.
« We do posters, speeches, memory verse reading, song and drama
competitions, explains Kelesoma Saloa from the Tuvalu International Waters Project (IWP). We also involve children in our program especially in a quiz based on radio program releases, talk shows etc. »
The national campaign started late April 2006 will end on July 8th with the awarding of prizes for winners, certificate of volunteers, and a final quiz. Promoting good water uses as well as the adoption of the safest, most environmentally-friendly, cost-effective, and socially appropriate toilet systems, for Tuvalu, should lead to the completion of the International Waters Project in December 2006.
The objective of the Tuvalu IWP is to ensure that:
· is aware of the wastewater problem and the possible solutions
· has a plan to implement the preferred solutions
· can pilot some of these low-cost solutions as demonstration projects
· can use these lessons from the community to develop a clear plan to improve the management of wastewater at the national level
· will develop and implement a National Water and Sanitation Plan
· will introduce any appropriate legislation as required
· will prepare a project proposal for donor agencies to assist in the sanitation battle.
Although (or perharps because) the clock is ticking for Tuvalu, the tiny nation is trying to become an example for the rest of the world.
Press release July 2005
Franco-english team in tuvalu to study feasability of national renewable energy plan
As part of the 10-year « Small Is Beautiful » plan, whose objective is to help Tuvalu become a replicable model of an environmentally respectful nation before its disappearance due to the effects of climate change, a team of specialists has begun a 6-week visit to one of the world’s smallest nations. The objective is to study and report on the feasability of implementing a comprehensive national renewable energy plan throughout the 9-island archipelago using local resources: solar, wind, biomass, biogas, bioenergy, ocean thermal, etc.
This plan has been conceived by the Alofa Tuvalu Association, initiated by Gilliane Le Gallic, co-author of the film « Trouble in Paradise » and creator of Earth Day France in 1990. “Small Is Beautiful” is supported by, among others, the Pacific Fund, the French Foreign Ministry (M. Bruno Gain), ADEME (the French agency for environment and energy control), SOPAC (South Pacific Applied Geothermic Centre), and, most importantly, by Tuvalu's government and citizenry.
The scientific team is composed of Pierre Radanne (French specialist on renewable energies, president of the ADEME from 1998 to 2003, French representative for the Kyoto Protocol negotiations and former consultant for the French agency on global warming) and Dr. Sarah Hemstock (British scientist and author of a study on biomass and bioenergy in the Pacific). The two members of Alofa Tuvalu, Gilliane Le Gallic (specialist in environmental communication and public relations) and Fanny Héros (environmental journalist), will coordinate, film the operations and continue their work of encouraging greater environmental consciousness and behaviour by Tuvalu's general population.
Another team, financed by the Asian Development Bank, began a study on waste management, compost and recycling in the spring of 2004. The two teams will coordinate their work.
In addition, to help those Tuvaluans who can no longer meet their food needs by cultivating taro and other traditional crops due to salt contamination of the deep soil from sea level rise, the team has brought seeds that can grow using the still cultivatable soil surface, such as cucumbers, tomatos, eggplant and melons. These seeds were donated by Philippe Desbrosses, funder of Sainte Marthe farm and consultant for organic agriculture at the European Commission and by Dominique Guillet, President of the Kokopelli association.
After almost a month in my home island, France, for the first time, today I can sit and put my thoughts down. An unexpected occurrence. Thanks to Fanny who has been taking care by herself of the whole preparation for the Circus Event and to Sam, my son, who freed me by insuring by himself a quite heavy task on which I was supposed to help.
So… what happened since I left Funcity, just before Bomber day celebrations ? Quite a lot to try to remember and to attempt to describe. That makes me very aware of my vocabulary limitation in English (not to say it is that extended in French). A bit frustrating at times
Nothing much to report about the 2 long plane trips, no guardian angels like last September but nothing desagreable either apart from the movie system … which kept going back to the beginning and not where you were before zapping to another channel a bit nerve wraking … Many films available but not one could be watched till the end…..
After the looong last week , shooort nights, in Tuvalu and the unavoidible trauma to live the place after so long, the 48 hours spent in in Suva were amazingly smooth even though a bit speedy. One of the good surprises as I was starting stressing a bit about how to get to Nadi, (waiting list on the Suva/Nadi flight, booking by phone on a bus but could not plan when I could go and pay)… Anare, from the Sopac, was dropping me off after our biogas digester meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture- when Paul (also from the Sopac), on his way to New York, called to say he would send a car at 5 to pick me up to travel together to Nadi. Many thanks to him, Anare and Leonie too (FSPI ex Canada Aid) for her friendly hospitality… Other meetings in Suva include : the EU, the French Embassy, The Tuvalu High Commission, Pacific Risks where Tapugao was sitting too, about the TMTI renovation and integration of Alofa Tuvalu’s Micro Model plans. Who am I forgetting ? Yes : a lunch at the Foundation for the Pacific People with Hugh who is working with Annie and Semese on marine conservation issues.
After Suva, the 48 h parenthesis in Los Angeles was welcome. Chris was at the airport and although I’ve not been living in L.A.since 3 or 4 years, I still feel at home in the little bungalow. I did not set foot outside but for 10 minuts in the garden to check the trees and animals : this time, I got the visit of a blue jeai, a squirrel and a crossed eyed cat. Sharing the space with Chris is quite agreable for a few days and he made himself available to drive me places … Thanks to him… I also could appreciate how much the oil issues had become « a thing » in America…. Prices skyrocketing and Oil companies making bundles ! The only thing I like in L.A concerning cars - although traffic is impossible - drivers stop when they spot a pedestrian ready to cross… A civility I wish we had in France, in Europe… or in Tuvalu. Another good thing life offers in L.A. is the ability to find almost everything available on the planet, hundreds of flavor icecreams in any hypermarket. And great cappucinos (ni).
Amongst the not so good things in our big cities : homelessness…. In Los Angeles, a guy who probably had drunk a bit too much had fallen from his bike and laid on the sidewalk without anyone stopping to check on him. Chris did and an ambulance came a few minuts later… In big cities, people die alone on the sidewalk in complete indifference ! Paris is the same … A shame !
April 28th, Fanny was at the Paris airport… Since then we have not stopped speaking… That first night we spoke till I had to lay down… What I like when traveling is, the first morning, wondering where I am for a few seconds.. It did happen in Suva and in Los Angeles..… Not in Paris… When I woke up at 2, I knew exactly where I was and what I had to do : emptiying luggage and working thru the 3 months mail pile. However when I fell asleep again, I went straight back to Tuvalu… & back in Parisian life a couple of hours later to go shopping for a lunch with my « little » family.… Rediscovering my grand children after 3 months, seeing much evolution in both of them, was a real treat… Then a late afternoon aperitive drink on the terrasse over Paris to celebrate Severine’s leaving the following day for the West of France onto a new job with one of the major French water and sanitation company. Severine has been of great help for Alofa Tuvalu and will go on doing so thru her job. She’s also putting the pression for us to be in France for her wedding, arranged for September when my planning is to be back in Tuvalu from August till early october, to live « live » the elections, the independance day and my birthday. Anyway, apart the health problems Patricia, the lady with whom we have been working since around 15, had been observing since before my departure everything was under control. Or, rather, this is what I felt that Sunday.
Tuesday May 2nd
Monday was mayday and to celebrate « work day » we did work as usual but Fanny arrived with a lilly from the valley which are sold at every street corner that day… I did concentrate in the 2 priorities : prepare my tax return which was due a few days ago and make sure our « big » camera which died in Tuvalu at the beginning of our stay, could be repaired under warranty..
Tonight, conference about waste where we met quite a big number of friends…. However jetlag caught me up and I hardly could restrain from yawning… So I left as soon as I could…. And was very surprised to realize that yes we were in the middle of Spring and it was still day light after 9 pm…. In summer, the sun sets at around 11pm which is a real treat !
Wednesday May 3rd :
Tsunamis day ! In the morning Sam lands home with his bag to stay over for a while. Him and his companion, had decided the night before to separate. Not a light issue in anyone’s emotional life, the both of them and their 2 children !
That same day, a phone call from a radio announced the tsunami alert in the Pacific… We were, particularly Fanny and I, all shaken up, clicking like crazy on internet infos, maps, amplitudes 5 earthquakes in a week in the region…
Another shock of the day : Patricia’s mysterious sickness which sprung almost everywhere in her body was diagnosed : lung and bone cancer. She came by that day, a walking skeleton.. in great pain… Of course this had kept her from working on the 2005 and 2006 administrative and financial documents which were due weeks before. Amongst other Tuvalu projects, I had planned to follow up on the Amatuku micro-model but could not have foreseen all this chaotic return…. One more example that whatever plan we make it will be modified… by an unexpected force.
Therefore, the 2 first weeks in Paris my days were spent immersed on administrative tasks which took quite a look of mental space and time. I felt like an automate, working on stuff I dont really like but had to… No choice. At night, my psychological support to my son consisted on listening, trying to ease his pain and anxiousness about his children future.
Only a couple of days ago, when I was able to take time to archive my personal papers and recycle whatever could be recycled did I feel I had landed.
Next is the Circus week event starting next week to end up May 21st with a public screening and conference in Meulan, a 100 km far away parisian subburb. Fanny who has been protected me from any untmely obligation, has been going outthere since a couple of days, installing the tent and finalizing the organization with the towns involved.. She preserved me till yesterday when a crises with the security services occured which could have ended up with the event being canceled. I had almost forgotten about the whole event and was very optimistic about the issue… such crises happens on each « production ». Today, though I’m getting a bit aware of what I have to prepare for the week and decided to forget about the video edit I had planned … I took the time however to invite Eugene Berg our ambassador back to Paris to participate in the ending ceremony and conference.
Amongst the things which crossed my mind these last weeks in Paris :
Via my son’s present situation, I could appreciate the culture difference in between our western countries and Tuvalu. Having children, living together without being married is today part of our society, I would say for now the second generation. Divorce represent probably over 50% of marriages celebrated and live in partners probably the other 50. I was part of the first generation, happy to have been and happy to see that today, although it still feels like a miracle for the 2 of them to have gone over emotions so fast, they have dealt very well with the new situation and the children are well balanced and happy.
The other difference in between Paris and Tuvalu which I really appreciate here is the variety of trees, flowers, vegetables and fruits. On the terrasse, as I probably mentionned, the lilac, the lavander were in bloom. and the wild red poppies will follow soon. In the parisian streets, chestnut trees too are in blooms and glycines‘s arome smell very subtil.
Concerning the real tsunami threat : it kept us panicked « live » for a few hours after the TV national news announced it as a real risk..…sadness went in so deep insie me realizing how hrd it must be to hear that you are imminently threatened without being able to do anything… So we started imagining ways of dealing with this and making an escape possible which we should all discussed about when we are back. When finally Laure told me the news : THERE NEVER WAS A REAL ALERT, IT WAS JUST A TEST for the alert systems… of course I felt relieved to be reinsured a tsunami on Tuvalu is unlikely to happen ever but it really felt this test thing was a bit perverse !
Hard to find a new energy after the Circus Event. It was great, children were wonderful and amongst the adults we even had the priviledge to be visited by our french Minister of Environment and a few other officials such as Eugène Berg of course… but standing up straight and environmentally educating children for 10 days, litterally… drained us out… It would have been much worse if we did not get such wonderful help from many people and particularly from Angeline, Alofa Tuvalu trainee for a couple of months, Marianne, an Alofa Tuvalu members since the 2005 Circus Event who happens to live in the city where our tent was installed. She took 10 days off her job to help on everything including making the food for the team lunches. Both of them learned amazingly fast how to speak to children and what to say about Tuvalu, global warming, biofood, fair trade, recycling etc etc… A real pleasure.
We had to pull our strength up to set up and run a booth at 2 other festivals about recycling and clean air… the following week. This coming week is Sea level rise conference where we were hoping to see Hilia. Unfortunately she did not get her student visa and could not make the trip. The week after, mid june we are invited to speak about awareness/education and media at the Unesco and right next after, we jump into a train to get to the South of France where the Paul Ricard (yes the famous french drink also called Pastis or Pernod) Ocean Institute is celebrating its 40th anniversary.. For this one, I promissed a 15mn video of the last king tides which yet has to be edited (6 hours of shooting)
The great thing is that all these events are covered by the press and Alofa Tuvalu is again present in every media. The Small is Beautiful and Micro Model projects too go on interesting a big variety of media and we are very pleased to get a special in a whole new and big monthly paper « Thalassa » which means « Water » in Greek.
In L.A. Chris is working on printing some of the pictures he took last february for a potential exhibition in September. He has also followed up with a US distributor who contacted me recently to commercialize Trouble in Paradise… Our actual broadcast distributor has not been too active and has gone bankrupt a year ago or so. Thanks to our US institutional distributor the film has been seen almost everywhere in the world in the Universities and festivals markets. And the few students met in Funafuti last time (Heather and Rujian for example, had seen the film before making the trip). Anyway TV bringing much more audience at once, (and a little money), this new partneship is a welcome occurrence….
Chris will also be part of a soon to come meeting in Fiji with Vete, Anare from the Sopac, Sikeli (the biogas specialist introduced to us by Anare) and Pacific Risks to insure the rationality of the works to be done.. Because… Yes… I finally found the time and necessary mental disponibility to gather my notes on the fijian april appointments into a synthetic memo (well, knowing me you have guessed the note is still quite long !) for all concerned actors which should be leaving aorund the same time than this present letter..
In Australia/New Zealand : some of you have been made aware directly by the interested parties, i.e. Mark Hayes and Jocelyn Carlin. They both have been very busy too, working for Tuvalu in their home islands. Mark has been a great part of putting together a Jocelyn Carlin’s photos exhibition : « Footprints on Funafuti: a pacific legacy » which opened on May 26th at the University of Queensland. Before that, the 2 of them had published a couple of papers, one for the Griffith Review which I’m sure you’ll get copies of.
In London, Sarah who is following quite closely what is happening in Paris, has been taking great care of her 95 years old Grand Mother who is back home with her after a few weeks at the hospital due to a fall. Sarah was quite happy with the , at first, impressive recovery but has had some down moments since. She’s hopeful to be able to make a 6 weeks trip in Tuvalu in August/September. Before she’s invited to participate at one of the yearly KTA events (Kiribati-Tuvalu Association in the UK)
Back in Paris…I was ready to send this Alofa Tuvalu newsletter when I realized I had not excused myself towards my friends or acquaintances whose messages are still unanswered for so long…This made me feel guilty quite often.. And I will write each of you as soon as… Reading over these pages I noticed that not once did I mentionned that my time was also occupied and my mind preoccupied a little by my own health. When I returned, as I had to check the lung infection which had struck before my last trip… X rays showed normal. The day after however I felt pain.Took another appointment, canceled it hen the pain stopped and went on doing my chores.. I had kept putting my fatigue on the trip, the turbulent arrival and the amount of work to be done… Last week whatever I had been feeling bugged me enough to go and check again… Small infection to both lungs. That means more unforeseen appointments to come and treatment to do.
Hopefully it will be finished before our next planned visit to Tuvalu. For the elections… Fanny is jumping from joy about the idea of making the trip this time with us… I have to say that the perspective of spending my birthday in Funafuti and celebrating with you all my 3 years Alofa for Tuvalu anniversary is in itself the best Birthday present.
As if this was not long enough, underneath you’ll find one of Mark’s emails indicating where his articles can be found. Unfortunately, It would be senseless it seems to give you the few pages list of where Alofa Tuvalu speaks of Tuvalu but you can fin dit on google researching « alofa tuvalu ».
Here's some more shameless self-promotion -
'Journey' the monthly magazine of the Queensland Synod of the Uniting
Church has published On Line the *full version* of the feature on
Tuvalu by me, with a couple of my pictures.
PDF version Attached.
The May 2006 edition of Griffith Review should now be available from
the same places where intelligent people, like you, buy your reading
- ABC Shops, Dymocks, etc., or On Line from here -
Tuvaluislands.com will soon publish a pictures spread with many
pictures I took as I was researching my Griffith Review piece.
And Jocelyn Carlin's spectacular pictures spread in Griffith Review
is not to be missed. Quite extraordinary pictures which, quite
unintentially, synergistically expands, reinforces, extends, and
deepens my text OR my text counterpoints her pictures. We never
intentionally intended, planned, or worked together for this to occur
while we were collaborating on Funafuti, but you can almost feel the
synergy at work, like a hot Funafuti day. It's almost as weird as the
really weird feeling you get on the Pacific side of the atoll, though
far more pleasant.
(If you are so minded, please pray for some serious rain to hit
Tuvalu as they haven't had any for far too long and Funafuti is
currently drought stricken.)
Brisbane folks can see more of Ms Carlin's pictures, and actually
meet her in person, on Friday evening, May 26. Please get back to me
And Pacific Magazine for May 2006 -
Some earlier material can be found here -
NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2005
Bonne Année, Ke manuia te kilisimasi…OU Manuia te kilisimasi mote tausaga fou…
Sounds like Christmas wishes to me and by now it might be late but what I mean is Manuia New Year to all…
A special fakafetai to those of you who sent news from Tuvalu to Paris, it’s a real pleasure to read about you and to know what’s happening. A thread for keeping our Tuvalu feelings, memories and energy to help.
First Christmas with my grand son, Egon, (almost 3) and Grand daughter, Mae, (one year), deeply enjoying their freshness and imagination. Egon speaks so fluently that it’s easy to believe he’s older, forgetting some things might be too complicated for him. Such as explaining our feet are grounded on a round planet, Tuvalu being in the other side of that world. Today observing the sun setting down allowed the beginning of an explanation and observing the distance on an inflatable earth he got a beginning of an idea.
And now, Ready for the last 2 month’s list of French events about Tuvalu ? Flashback.
Late October we left for 5 days. Invited in Corsica, we had a booth in the Wind village/festival, an incredible yearly event since 15 years. In an old town behind great stone walls from centuries ago on the Mediterranean sea where 6000 people Live.
the wind festival, a poetic bubble where we discovered Alofa Tuvalu was one of the main focus.
Around 2000 french version comic books were distributed, 2 conferences were held, one with specialists adults, 1 very funny with very young children (3 to 5) and many contacts were made with schools and authorities. We were Too busy to watch or read any other news but were told, right as we arrived in Corsica that the violence outburst started right in the town we had chosen, as a symbol of lack of integration, for our Circus event a few weeks before : Clichy sous Bois from where it spread. We were of course very surprised although the reasons for doing just were notorious enough for us to chose this type of town, as a symbol.. stupid police old racist habits (social as well as geographical origins) towards subburb young guys. The reason of the problem is far from being fixed though and our politicians and policemen for decades, should be ashamed of themselves. It's pathetic how they can be machiavelick, professional lyers without any sensivity and respect of human life. An Hidden camera program showed nice guys being arrested by the police, threatening them "do you want to end up into a transformer?" which is what happened to the kids around whom the riots started... and unfortunately it's not the first time french police kills youngsters.So it made us feel even prouder and happier to have “worked” with young children from these underpriviledged suburbs
A funding request was dropped late November for a duplication of the circus pilot in 6 other areas around Paris and many schools and Kaupule are contacting us to find a way to reproduce the event in their town too. So far, the next one is planned for around Earth Day 2006, late April.
Strangely enough although the “Small is Beautiful” mission seems to fly along just like in a dream, since our return from Tuvalu the affective plane has proved heavily emotional. After Fanny’s couple separation which broke part of her heart just before starting the Circus event, coming back from Corsica, I got propulsed in a main emotional world, as soon as I set foot on Parisian ground. A message at the airport informed me my mom was very bad.... Before I left she was as good as one can be at 93, yelling at one of her table neighbors to "move away from her spot". Now she was under oxygen, not feeding herself. That day, when I saw her it was obviously too late to do something.. I spent the last days conforting and telling her our love as best as I could. Her last word was « my dear ». 24h later, No words she yawned in her sleep, and I felt good about her expressing the need to sleep even deeper. I'm sad but reinsured she felt our love and we did feel hers.
Another difficult episode, not comparable but in a way more upsetting than my mom, was having to “fire” a wanted to be member of the association. A guy who mailed Enele to ask him about french speaking people in Tuvalu without informing us before hand. We could have told him but, victim of his email harassment since he offered to become a member of the association, we did not have time and mainly did not wish for anyone in Tuvalu to get drowned with millions of mails and questions. Impatient and impulsive, the guy pourred out suggestions on anything such as the title of the film (too late) or the comic book name… and just became a nuisance, destructuring our very small (but productive) team.
The day my mom passed away a few minutes after I left her, I had a debate to take part of. Did not know if I would, or would be able to. Decided to go after realizing my Mom had been very much behind my environmental “fights” since 2 decades and although she did not understand much where Tuvalu was and was missing me very much each time I left for Funafuti, she would have pushed me to go to this conference. So I went. Kent, the singer who drew the comic books, Yves, our now friend from the National Energy Agency, and myself took the stands. Laure and Fanny spoke from the audience. Another November/december event we were invited to : the European Environment « Salon », market where Alofa Tuvalu shared a booth with the Union of Engineers. Hundreds of European companies presented their equipment. We might have found a supplier for small scale windmill used in the Netherlands. We were there distributing our liflet presenting our actions and a comic book.
The Agency made an English translation for a first use in the Indian Market by the end of the year. Many will be sent to Tuvalu for the schools, and the Funafuti primary school children do a tuvaluan translation. For that Salon, we also had to produce some kind of a leaflet, 8 half pages about the association and the actions. We had not planned this at all in our planning and it did take much time… which means less sleep yet. But how to refuse to be financed 10000 liflets ?
However, if more say it’s time to act, many still believe than just saying it keep them from actually acting as long as their neighbor is doing it. What we saw in this Environment Salon/Market was examplary : many recyclable (bottles etc) in normal waste when recycling was available… Next year we’ll create the « most polluting eco-company » Awards !Amongst the other good news, Fanny is now full time working on the Tuvalu’s mission. She has been responsible for our children awareness « Circus » event for which a pilote happened beginning of October and was doing 2 jobs in 1.
So yes, we’ll go on answering requests from TV, newspapers and magazines, Conferences, debates and other colloques to p romote Tuvalu... And we are very happy to send the comic books to the many requests from schools everywhere.
Even better as we had lost hope on this, the International French National Agency for energy is OK to participate in the energy study we are finalizing after 6 weeks on Funafuti (and a few days in Vaitupu and Nukufetau for Sarah, the biomass scientist) They are also interested in participating in the next step of the project which was thought of a few days before leaving Tuvalu late September : to create a micro model for educating Tuvaluan people (and beyond) on how to use and maintain Biogas and biodiesel and other renewable energy in order to become energy independent.
Sarah/Pierre : study
Sarah (the scientist in the film, one of the two in Funafuti last August) pushed me to fill an application to the World Bank and we are sending another one in a couple of weeks to the EU. The plan is to go back to Funafuti next february and March and try to put together 2 small biodigestors and a small bio-diesel plant on Amatuku as well as a training workshop.
Foundation Ensemble, NH, are now calling us to confirm they are interested. More work and I’m crossing my fingers that their will will transform in long term assistance in order for us all to find the best solutions for Tuvalu as a whole.
What else ? Ah yes : « Trouble in Paradise » was screened in Montreal for the UN climate conference. Chris was invited there and spoke with the spectators about Tuvalu.
We also were lucky enough to be funded the making of Alofa Tuvalu’s site which has been postponed and postponed lack of time more than lack of money. Hopefully it will be on its way by Christmas.
Many more public transportation strikes since the one I mention in the last newsletter.. but it did not really affect. Another one is planned tomorrow.
Cold, it snowed mid November, it was beautiful, big snowdrop, like white feathers. Obviouslly it cant be mistaken with birds as apart from afew seagulls sometimes flying over, all te other birds we are privliedged to be able to see from our hill over Paris are black (sparrows), brown (XXXXX and , or grey… Only once did we see a all green bird and not too long ago, 2 small parrots red headed, probably escaped from their cages.
I hope everything is Ok with everyone.
Tofa and alofa a you all
NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2005
Talofa my friends
The date of this message keeps changing… And from « Almost a month », it became « over a month » since I left Tuvalu.
After a few days in Fiji and many meetings (some were planned, some unexpected, such as Kaio or Valilo - and Solofa who I had never met) I flew from Fiji to L..A. under the protection of 2 guardian angels. 2 Air New Zealand stewards took me under their wings. They made sure I had a drink served at my seat even before getting to it.. a nice surprise... But mainly, they asked the couple next to me to move so that I had a whole row for myself.... allowing me to sleep all the way... Most unusual. I hope Sarah will get the same treat when she finally gets back to Europe, probably next week. She spent over a month mainly in Sydney and a week or so in NZ, meeting Jocelyn (our photograph friend) and her mate Neil (music publisher) as well as Tony « Gourmet » (waste management).
One night in Los Angeles did not give me enough time to do anything apart from a family dinner and a couple of calls to friends,.. And I landed in Paris September 24th.
The culture shock this time hit at every levels mainly because instead of being able to re-install myself at home, I ended up into a totally unknown world : a « hot » subburb , one of the worst reputation in France, an hour away from Paris, where we installed that same week, our « circus tent » for the children awareness pilot week...
Fanny picked me up at the airport. I usually like better to take a taxi and unwind home alone... Chris was in the appartment spending his last night in Paris....... He left early the morning after. That same night, my family came over. It was a treat to see my two grand children and their parents... Waking up in an empty house after such a full evening, made the whole arrival look like a dream... The day after, I went thru another minor bone implant, and the following, we installed the circus tent.... and.... after one month work on the new Tuvalu file, right before the circus event opened to the public, the « Amatuku » idea project (many thanks to John, Eti and others to have made sure I would get the signed papers in time) was clicked off on the Rolex Awards site and fedexed to them right on the deadline day. I was ready for the coming marathon... 2 weeks of plain crazyness… 10 days of getting up very early (not my thing) to receive the children and going to bed very late to feed some media with pictures of the day. In between tiredness and jet lag, I felt like happily floating the whole time
Many stresses to deal with. The day after I got in, at midnight a couple of days before the tent was supposed to be installed : panicked phone call. Fanny and Patricia were ready to cancel the event after hearing the circus's owners description of the crowd at night. At midnight, half asleep I had to take my first Parisian fast decision... Luckally, as we had chosen this location for that exact reason... there was no doubt in my mind we had to do it...
In the middle of this, general strike in France, no transportation but I was ready to walk all night to get there in time for the children... And even though some of these 700 children were somewhat more difficult than in other more bourgeois areas, we all felt great each day despite other major unexpected stresses to go thru. Such as Fanny having to deal with her 8 years old couple falling apart the night before we opened... She also half broke her arm and spent half day in the hospital ER a few days later. Her mental and physical strength was and still is amazing. Luckally too, the half dozen volunteers who helped were wonderful and dedicated.... Salofa arrived a bit too late to be part of it but as the Unesco event happens each 2 years, we'll make sure next time, we can arrange to fit the circus events with the youth and education tuvaluan representatives trip.
In the midst of this, another American friend landed from Washington to my appartment... The day the tent was taken down, that's when I got a cold, fever and cough which made me realized I had cracked one rib when trying to get into a waste container to grab a recyclagle newspaper thrown in by mistake by a child... Of course, that same night, laughing with Fanny and Laure around a few drinks to celebrate the Circus success and my birthday, helped me get conscious of the rib pain...
In short, everything is getting in the right direction and/but seems to surmultiply like a racing car... The event got TV and several national radio coverage as well, of course, as newspapers and magazines and more are planned about the comics book... for which we already have many requests from schools everywhere in France. Conferences, debates and other colloques are planned from the end of the month uptill next spring. In one of them, a week long festival in Corsica, a french island from the Mediterranean sea we are invited and offered a booth to present Tuvaluan culture, the film, the comic books and other stuff + a conference. Invited there with me to speak on behalf of Tuvalu : Fanny, Kent, the singer who drew the Comic Book, and Laurent (the photographer who made the trip in February 2005) ... The best news of all though is that we got some fundings to allow Fanny to come and work full time with Alofa Tuvalu in december. A much expected and welcome perspective.
Today, we'll insert some of the bubbles and salt water coming up at high tides shot last September in « Trouble in Paradise ». While we were in Tuvalu, the film had been shortened a bit for our children event. It is now presented again under its new length in many festivals and for what I understood i twill be projected at the UN climate conference in Montreal.
In the middle of all of this, the phone and internet was cut off for a few days.. just to remind me of Tuvalu ! But somewhere as it happened at the end of, it allowed me to stay in peace and quiet and to slowly sort out my parisian life and files. And most recently, my best tool/friend, My portable powerMac broke on me leaving me a bit handicaped and having to rethink some of my organization… So, it seems it will take time before Fanny or me can get into a normal rythm. But what is normal, what is real... That was my first question when setting foot in the underground train... What is life : eating fish in the lagoon or trains running under the ground of one of the world megapolis ? Of course I'd choose the lagoon.
I hope everyone is Ok.
Tofa and alofa a you all
PS : Last news : Got a mail this morning from the partner who financed the comic Books announcing it might be translated for distribution in India !
PS 2 : Solofa had his first Parisian metro-train ride. An unusual one as we took a line which comes from underground to 10 meters high along parisian buildings, crossing the river next to the Eiffel Tower !
NEWSLETTER MAY 2005
To our friends in Tuvalu (and other English speaking acquaintances and buddies)
May 1st (long passed by now but this is when I started this letter)
Everyone In France is celebrating Labour by not working.... People sell lily of the valley at every French street corner. It brings luck we say and smells nice!
Within a few weeks, Paris got into full spring. On my roof terrace, bushes I thought dead and could have pulled out have nice green leaves. Some are in flowers: Lilac, hyacinth, lavender and roses will be out in a few days... Till fall many others will follow : seringa, poppies, cornflowers, carnations, honeysuckle, buttercups. The only plant which did not make it over the winter is the taro Chris had given me, which came from Hawaii. As I trust you are now all doing, I’ve started a (tiny) compost on the terrace, from veggie’s peelings. It’s working very well.
Am I delaying this intro because I dont really know where to start ? Maybe...
First : I hope everyone is OK and enjoying their life.
Here, Fanny, who you’ll probably meet this summer, has a big cold but it does not keep her from working her A.. off and pushing everyone including me. Amongst her ideas which are taking shape : awareness of French children and a book in partnership with the most popular French photographer, Yann Arthus-Bertrand who shot the earth from above, you might have seen some shots from him, they were used in many different forms : books, agendas, post cards etc etc. He might do an intro with Jocelyn/Laurent and James Conway’s friend pictures. JOCELYN from NZ sent many nice pictures of her last trip to Funafuti. Jocelyn also has a nice picture of a kid with plastic nappies which might be of use for the file we have started working on about creating laundries for cotton nappies to diminish rubbish.
Alix has been on a little cloud since she madly fell in love late march... Then she went thru a major stress period realizing she had soon a study to give out for her school. In the office, we adapted to her being neither here or there. Her paper (over 100 pages) has now been dropped and she’s now back with more concentration. It’s wonderful (and she’s still in love)
Laurent who came back over a month ago seems still pretty much « in love’ with Tuvalu. We all met around a dinner to watch his wonderful pictures of you all (almost) and the place. His first call a couple of days after his return was particularly nice as I could hear his smile thru the phone. With him we figured out which French team had made the trip to Tuvalu last january. The world is small : it’s a lady who last year wrote an article by taking all her info from our film’s commentary without mentioning her sources. Laure knows her too and had a lunch with her and Fanny has 2 friends working on the film.
Laure got very brave, changed diet, and stopped drinking for a while ; Very proud of her. She has also realized impact of her writing and seems to have been genuinely missing the point with her trash article. Since then another one of her articles was published in a monthly magazine. Much much better feeling. Too bad we did not have yet Jocelyn or Laurent’s pictures though. Laure also started going thru the videos of the outer islands trip and we’ll try to edit it. Maybe we can get an interest from a cable tv.
One is already interested in having a weekly little show around Tuvalu taking extracts from Trouble in Paradise. Not a cable, a national free channel which opened beginning of April. They invited me beginning of April (with another supporter of Small is Beautiful, a researcher and now Interministerial delegate for environment) to speak about Climate Change and its effects). We showed some flooding video from last December. We all became friendly and they are quite focused on environmental. I’ll probably come back on that later.
Another TV project we are starting developing is a documentary about Tuvaluan music. The idea came a year ago when the copyright company suggested they would support the making of such a product. So, I’ll check with a couple of friends in the music business if they would be interested to do the trip, host the music documentary and hopefully help more with Tuvaluan culture. We’ll see what happens there.
To come back to the Alofa Tuvalu « bees nest » :
Lizbeth is right now vacationing in France northern shores and Cyril is weekly travelling from Paris to Belgium where he works.
Me ? Felt a bit fragile with the news of quite high arterial pressure. It’s probably due to stress and many reasons to it... Less salt (which I love) and no cigarettes (which I still like) would probably help too. So I know what I’m going to be told if/when I’ll go to the doctor. Laure says I ought to be in Tuvalu to feel better. She was very surprised of my energy there ! So was I !
One of the reasons of stress : not knowing about our first funding request, the Pacific Funds. (Delays reminded me of Tuvalu parliament). We got the news last week : we’ll get half of what was asked for. A bit disappointing but it definitely pays for 3 or 4 of us to go over there, volunteering our time, as usual. We are still considering July/August. Sarah and Pierre, the 2 alternative energies specialists have also been very patient.
The Pacific Funds changed President. That’s why it took so long. The presidency went to Temaru, the new president of Tahiti. Political move but definitely a local is better fitted than a « Parisian ». We also learned the Funds will focus on waste actions. We’ll present a file next year for them to help on the laundries for nappies and a bulldozer for Tony’s ADB actions who could probably drop his own file.
Among the other March/April activities and Alofa Tuvalu news :
- the NGO not only now has a bank account with what we call an « ethical » bank.... a nice letterhead but also a waiting page is on the net for the www.alofatuvalu.tv site. For the moment, it forwards to the site created last year around the releasing of the film : www.europeantelevisioncenter.tv. With the new site, we have the possibility of over 1000 email addresses. So we will create an address for every member of the NGO who need/want one. As per the official documents of the NGO, Tuvaluans are « members by right ». Membership is set at 2 euros or equivalent, such as piece of fish, beer, shell necklace... so many many of you have already paid their fees to us last year.
- Late March, we sent the last newsletter to more people, such as Palagis met in Tuvalu or people who had, via the internet, asked about the film and Tuvalu. Some of them (from the UK and the US) were in Tuvalu decades ago, as Peace Corps and were pleased to get fresh news.
- In March, April and May, we went to many conferences and official appointments such as : the coastal conservatory institution followed with a lunch with the interministerial delegate for environment (a supporter), a corporate foundation 2 days symposium whose president had suggested for us to come. Many big shots there, not many contacts yet but one could be of interest. Big industrial company in many different fields. Amongst the most recent domains : TV and a clean car : the Blue Car. We happened to like his attitude and his channel is the one who would like a series (for almost free) about Tuvalu. So we got in touch with him and hope to be able to meet soon. Maybe he can give some clean cars to Tuvalu.
- Late March or April, we also received the dozen Press cards for the Tuvalu International press Club which were mailed immediately to Jocelyn, mark, and the couple of other frenchies. For Melali, Fong, Yvette, Telele, Marica we sent them all to TMC... did you get them ? If we had them a bit earlier, Fong would have been able to use it in Brisbane. In Tuvalu, not much use !
- As per FONG trip to Australia. Knowing about Mark’s efforts on preparing it and then of its success made us all very happy..... I had had a few e-words with Mark about « taking without saying » ; things like Email list and the "we are all Tuvalu" at the end of our film. The message has to be spread but it’s nothing to add 2 words to a long message to let the other one know. My moralistic lesson (I cant help it) was taken gracefully and that’s why I like Mark. Hi Mark !
I tried to help Fong from far by giving her some arguments. It must be very difficult, for an "insider" to pull back and see what would strike foreigner’s attention. So for the ones who’ll face arguing or denial, here are a few lines which could be of help. What I’m demonstrating on tv or conferences : even at normal high tide, you are under water... For most people outside Tuvalu, king tides means big waves. Kind tides in Tuvalu bring a mix of problems : sea water coming out of the ground and stagnating at 20 cms under, keeping the rain from infiltrating. PLUS big waves and strong winds. The tide calendar shows that half the year high tides look like king now when, for what I got, before, there were only 2 king tides a year.
Other topics that still comes out from "enemies mouth" : too much tourism, development, cutting of coconut trees. Amongst answers : 1-our video survey, at the airport for each arrival/departure shows 5 tourists in 6 weeks, that means approx 50 a year... 2-The problem is the same in other islands where there's no development. 3-trees get uprooted by erosion and fall.
When hearing about Tuvalu waste issue, the answer is that this problem is worldwide and, at least, in Tuvalu people are aware and it is being fixed. Not many nations have a cans and compost program !
- On the 22nd of April, for Earth Day we placed an ad in the buy/sale land/house section of a national newspaper (Laure’s paper). A simple, catchy idea, which did not cost anything but drew more attention. It's much less costly than an advertising page but as effective as a costly advertisement ! Along with it we sent hundreds of press release in France and some in the states. To see it in English, go to :
We can email it but right now I’m worried about the length of this present document and don’t want to be a burdon by adding another page. Basically it says « Wanted : archipelago, 26 km2, 10 meters elevation minimum »
Among the reactions this got : Claude Gaspart, an economist and ex-civil servant at the european institutions, based in Belgium and who created 20 years ago, the European Center of developing small island states, lobbying in the European Institutions, proposed to help Alofa Tuvalu in there. Another funny one is a photographer whose hobby is to film the authors of untypical ads ! We are doing a group picture this Sunday.
This was also the occasion for me to get back in touch with a journalist I should have re-contacted since January. We had e-met last year about a series of articles he did about small islands in my favorite newspaper. He sent me a book and since then we exchanged a mail here or there. A press release was sent with a note stating that he might have the best lists of islands to buy. He immediately answered that a whole file was available for consultation. He also suggested artificial islands. Worst comes to worst, he’s a mine !
Still for Earth Day, you might have heard about Enele’s trip to Los Angeles where a student from UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles, put together a screening of the film and a debate about Tuvalu. Chris, (co-director of the film for those who have not met him) was there too.
- Speaking of the film : Over a year after it was first aired, it’s still travelling in festivals. Next ones in June : In Paris (again) and Athens
- A few weeks before Earth Day, the 3 NGo who had, last year, created the Tuvalu’s Prize for the most polluting RV, did it again and now want to buy the film.
- Alofa Tuvalu is also very much into children, right now. Fanny ‘s project is to create a week event with children, around Tuvalu Independance day... An awareness fun but educative event, around the screening of the film (shortened), with an animation crew to play and explain to kids what the climate problem is, its causes and effects and what they can do. Alix thought about adding a comic book for children to take home, focusing on daily reflexes. I'm pretty much involved with the writing of the comics and the putting together/financing of the operation. This week the French environmental agency gave its OK to be a partner. Amongst other potential partners : A friend of mine chief editor for a monthly science magazine proposed to include the comics in her magazine read by over 2 million people. Another friend, responsible for Youth programs at a national public tv station and a major national institution for public education might be interested too. Hopefully, yet another old friend, a musician/singer who we went to see performed on Earth Day, also a comics artist, gave his ok this week too, to draw it. We’ll also make an English version for Tuvaluan kids. The story is a day in the life of a Tuvaluan girl and a French boy, focusing all along about the causes and effects of global warming. If I have some idea, I miss a lot about a kid's daily life. We have more info from the miscellaneous studies brought back but some very practical facts, we will only get from you guys. May I ask a few questions about it?
° what do 10 years old children eat for breakfast apart from todi (if todi) ? Where do they wash ? inside ? outside ?
° How do children who live "far" come to school ? How do they take their lunch ? Is there an increase of "fast" "industrialized" food for lunch at school ? such as packages of chips ?
Apart from that, after managing to deliver the film of her fan making by Tumu to my goddaughter, I’m still slaving on our Ambassador’s film and feel very shamefull about my snale speed.
Basically everyone is dreaming of going or going back to Tuvalu. I started longing for the next trip a few weeks ago, now that it’s getting closer, no doubt I’ll start stressing about the many things to do before and during the visit... And dreading the idea of being sick during the trip to the outer islands. Even though I really would like to go, I’m already thinking of ways to make it not mandatory for the study.
As always, your news are welcome even if not answered immediatly.
Warm regards from Paris
Gilliane, Alix, Fanny, Liz, Pat, Laure, Laurent, Cyril and others I have not mentionned yet.
LAST MINUTE NEWS : the UNESCO is interested in Small is Beautiful and has invited us to present the project to the whole team first week of june !
NEWSLETTER MARCH 2005
FEBRUARY NEWS FROM FRANCE
First of all, a few weeks ago, we received a GLOBAL WARMING PETITION which we forwarded to a lot of American relations. Some French friends signed it too but I had not sent it to you. You’ll find it attached.
It has been snowing almost steadily on Paris and most of France for over 2 weeks this February making everything look more « serene ». It started snowing the day one of my dear friend passed away.
After sending the January « news from France » and another one in French for my French speaking friends I had not yet sent my wishes for the year already well in, we had to rush and finalize our first funding application for renewable energies in Tuvalu, to the French Fund for the Pacific. To host and coordinate this phase of the "Small is Beautiful" plan, the first week of February was mostly dedicated to prepare the documents for registration of the NGO. Many of you made nice suggestions and helped in deciding on the name of it. So thank you all very much. Enele’s idea "remember Tuvalu" was very nice but, as many suggestions, seemed there were too many syllables for our French or English speaking "audience". We finally ended up with Alofa Tuvalu, and the NGO was registered Feb 2nd (my son’s birthday).
I was that day, in the south of France, in Marseille, (a big nice mediterranean harbour where people have a very different accent from Paris), for the opening of a very unique Festival/conferences, Science Frontières which lasted 5 days and where I was invited to speak about Tuvalu and show the film and some of the new pictures.
An old friend of mine, Lisbeth, joined me the second day. She’s the one who had accepted to take over me our Earth Day NGO over a decade ago, where she did a great job. Since 2 years, she stopped but is still very active about the environment in general and Tuvalu’s project in particular. She’s actually the vice president of ALOFA TUVALU. Laure was supposed to come for the first day but could not make it. I felt bad not to share the first « encounter » in between two French « stars » of the environment. Very nice. Very pessimistic too as were most of the following speeches.
Although it was the 21st festival of the kind, it was also our first experience of it. Many of my friends who participated before spoke of its uniqueness. And this is definitely the feeling we had coming back to Paris. Although everyone had the same views about urgency and reality of threat for us all in term of climate (and no one really among the ones saying we have to act, actually, but the whole thing was very energizing and emotionally/spiritually very pleasant. Many contacts: researchers, scientists, the vice president of the World Bank in Europe, writers... One of them dedicated his book to Tuvalu.... Another guy, who resigned as a European deputy to lobby at Bruxelles for the environmental refugee legislation, was the very first member to the very new "Alofa Tuvalu" NGO and is now pushing to show the film to the European Parliament and other political arenas. And at my workshop I was pleased to see, amongst participants: a class of 10 years old who reacted very well.
For next year’s we proposed to set up recycling in the festival. Meanwhile, we brought back to Paris our bottles plastic as I did leaving Tuvalu... The day of our return, I walked back and forth in my apartment, thinking over one guy’s sentence which made many women smile including me. It was so obvious and at the same time passing the stick... « it’s up to women to do it »... Of course he’s right and it is time to act together... a massive women demonstration.... or even a Political party... to change the laws.
And as a matter of fact, a new women media network is being knitted.... from every media path including TV’s. The day before this festival, "we" (Tuvalu) finally made the news on the most popular national TV (over 30 millions viewers), with a short interview, extract from the film and some of the new pictures showing how the water comes up from the ground or forms a lake when it rains. We had done the 2nd main broadcaster news last October and a few other TV news channel but this one was less expected. It supposedly was to promote the festival but it became a subject about Tuvalu and the festival was mentioned in subtitle. Of course the pictures were free. Rich companies always find ways to make money. We could not refuse.
The best news about this festival, almost another miracle: after Alix who is helping on the project since January, another young lady, chief editor in a monthly newspaper and co organizer of the above festival, proposed her help. New energies, new ideas, new hands. With Laure, they are almost like the perfect daughters I never had. Amongst the other people involved in the NGO, apart from Pierre and Sarah, the 2 renewable energy specialists: Lizbeth, Patricia, Elisabeth, Farrah and, for the moment, only two men: Cyril, Richard (who visited Tuvalu in 1999).
The week of our return, our application for funding renewable energies in Tuvalu was finalized. The organization asking if we had Tuvalu's support (and having no official answer to our 2 mails to the government), we transcribed and edited some of the interviews we had done, focusing on the project, from the Prime Minister to the representatives of the church. All together a dozen of video supports including also Hilia, Penni, Kalisi, Susie. We also put in the file Enele’s and our French Ambassador’s last emails. File and dvd were finally dropped mid February. Another good news: Laure received an email from the Ambassador of the Pacific, President of the funding institution, congratulating her for the article she managed to sell her newspaper (see below). And now we cross our fingers till end of March.
The 3rd week of February was one of the worst, with a very dear friend passing... a bone surgery which seemed like nothing compared to the loss and.... and Laure's article about trash coming out. I had seen the article (and was allowed to soften a bit before it got out), but not the newspaper where a trashy title denying the sea level rise threat was added. I did feel betrayed, stupid and guilty to have financed Laure’s trip and helped this newspaper! Since then, we discussed the whole thing and are friends again. The worst of course was the loss of my friend, Marc Garcia, one of the greatest professional, creator of a few broadcast radios in France.
Among the palagis friends met in Tuvalu, I’m in regular contact with Mark and Jocelyn who managed to print the i.d. pictures for the International Press Club. We received them this week and the files are now sent to the Union, along with an article for their francophone newspapers published in every french speaking countries.
The last two weeks (and the ones coming) were/are dedicated to editing our French Ambassador’s visit to Tuvalu, based on the report he sent me. We also finalized our 15 pages trip report for our foreign affairs ministry and other potential partners institutions. Meanwhile, Alix, amongst other things, is translating the documents and Fanny is developing an operation with children to bring their awareness about Tuvalu... Under a circus tent, they could see the film, be explained the climatic phenomenon and leave with a cartoon about the daily reflexes they should put into practice.
We also got back in touch with at least one of the designers who had agreed to create one handcraft based on what’s done in Tuvalu and which would be made by Tuvaluan women to be distributed internationally.
As for the music, alleluia, after 18 months efforts, upon returning Marseille, we found in our mailbox the 3 membership cards from the music copyright company, (and today our 3 musician friends have their cards in hands, thanks Laurent, the French photographer who is presently in Funafuti and who carried them over). A CD was sent to a record company who had said to be in contact with major international companies and the main French TV broadcaster. No news yet but we are still dreaming to make a summer hit song of one of the Fagogo titles. To do so, though, the Sacem (copyright company) suggested that we created a publishing company here in France. That’s a lot of paperwork and a couple of thousands dollars to register. To get better advice, I’m getting in touch with the ex president of Sony records. We will deposit the 15 “new” songs (5 more from the 1st album and 9 recorded during the last trip when we get to this step. As per the money (a few cents) which will come from the airing of our film last year, they cant sent the money for us to redistribute it to you and suggest to open a french account for the musicians, or for the 3 to open a commun account in Tuvalu. We are investigation the Parisian accounts for you. Dont know yet if it is possible without the applicants presence. Today I started digitizing the videotaped songs to convert them on MP3, the audio standard to have them “music scored” and printed, necessary for the publishing.
Then last week, Mark and Jocelyn alerted me about a Guardian article announcing the BBC4 Paul Lindsay’s film about Tuvalu. They were appawled/horrified by how anti tuvaluan it was and I was too when I read the paper. Our friend Sarah, the scientist in the UK, wrote me she had seen the film and did not understand from where it was coming of. We are going to send a rebuttal letter. I have sent my base to Mark who’ll rewrite, include his and Jocelyn feelings. Your comment would be welcome.
Another girl, a student journalist from New Caledonian studying in France, who want to try to do a Xth film about Tuvalu, got in touch to get infos and advices. She got convinced to focus on solutions rather than problems and has rewrote her synopsis around the Small is Beautiful project.
Of course, we do realize from time to time how ambitious the whole project is, covering such a wide range of things, but 1-till now it did not stop our optimism and energy. 2-Whatever we do, even if not all, it’s something! 3-we are happy to have friends like you.
Although I rarely take the time to write each of you, I’m very happy (we are very happy), to hear from you. It is very important to us and I thank every one of you who gave news, some of them quite a while ago (Fong, Penni, Teu, Kalisi, Malo, Atabi, Ampelosa, TK, Muna, Semese, Seve, Sue, Hilia).. Sorry for the delay in answering. Eitini who left Tuvalu on a ship last November calls from time to time, from here or there on the globe. The last time was last week when the cargo stopped in Le Havre, a French Harbour. What about Resasi and Susie ? No news, good news I hope.
Last week, I also managed to visit my grand children. A real pleasure, like a small vacation... We had been communicating via Internet with the IAM-video system. Funny to think the babies are already so much accustomed to the new technology. As per me, I went into it almost backward... it’s a bit scary to know that when people have your IAM address, they can just pop on your screen at any time.... and expect to see you on camera !
Apart from that (I know, I know you are wondering when will this be over... and maybe hope it was over already...) France is boiling right now, with demonstrations of many kinds: students, civil servants from many path of life, or just citizens against the Olympic games or the Text of the European constitution about which there’ll be a referendum next month or so. Today, going to the bank to open “Alofa Tuvalu”’s account and coming out from the underground train, we found ourselves in front of hundreds of cops, heavily dressed, with helmets on and guns ready for a students demonstration... weird.
Well, that’s it for this month. Hum not really. I forgot one thing: we are setting up a website where they’ll be much space for you to express your needs and news and a place for French/Tuvaluan children to inter-exchange. So now your turn! And by the way what’s happening with the Parliament? the government?
Warm thoughts and regards to each of you
Gilliane and the Parisian friends of Tuvalu
NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2005
It’s now 2.30 am on sunday January 30th, exactly a month since I have been back in freezing Paris and since then I have been meaning to send my best wishes for the new year. Writing individually has proved almost impossible in a planning which has gotten ectic too quickly. Having read a couple of Jocelyn*’s personal newsletters to some of us who met there, I felt it was a nice way to adapt to time pressure and I hope none of you will feel offended by a common Paris newsletter. * for the few who have not met Jocelyn, a Photographer from NZ, she’s a wonderful lady who was there a month in november/december..
After leaving Tuvalu, just before Xmas, I made a stop for a few days in Los Angeles and was very happy to see some of my friends and family. I made it to Paris just in time to meet, before the end of the year, the 31st of december, my new granddaughter who was born when I was actually in the plane for Tuvalu, Seeing my family was a wonderful moment and the taste of cheeses and other french delicatessen helped my re-insertion. Getting back to a crowded underground train was an experience from another planet .
I was dreaming of a couple of days to find myself, empty luggages, think and plan the month ahead, But life is rarely perfect and I urgently had to derush, digitize, transcribe some of the interviews Laure and I did about waste managing, for an article for her newspaper. Definitly not the subject I would have chosen to start with but it was nice working with her on that a few days and exchanging some of the still recent memories. She has been quite busy since and is now off skiing.. We’ll meet again for updating information when she returns.
Then an unplanned heavy tasks fell on my laps, when I (re)met by chance the Ambassadeur du Pacifique (nothing to do with the French Ambassador to Fiji). He told me about their upcoming Pacific Funds committee and asked for an application for our project... Great news but which turned me away too from my original plan. Hopefully it will materialize into helping us sending specialists about renewable energy over as this particular application is focusing on that. To complement the funding file, as they asked if we had a letter of support from Tuvalu, there will be extracts of a dozen interviews which will give the Committee an even better idea of what people think than one letter. If everything goes according to plan, theh file should be dropped on Monday, deadline.
Another deadline for the day after : a few days festival/conference where the first film is shown and where a rough edit of some new footage is expected. I’ll focus on vulnerability, water levels rise either from the ground, either from the heavy rain. I’ve gotten quite comprehensive pictures for both phenomenons this year.
A great coincidence : a young trainee in environmental communication, Alix, dropped into my life, just in time. She is wonderful, speaks great english, lived 5 years in Australia... and happens to be a cousin !
So basically, we have been immerged in derushing, digitizing, transcripting for weeks (apart for the days I had to go and take care about my mom who just came back from a 10 days hospital treatment miles away from Paris, another unplanned urgency).
Meanwhile, Patricia, a lady working with me since almost 10 years, helped on finishing the files for the memberships of our friends Musicians at the French copyright company. Now the Company advices us to become publisher as our dream/goal is to make a summer hit in France of one of the title. With that in mind, we sent a couple of songs to a company who says being in contact with the right person at the most important French broadcaster. Many more steps to doin the music area, but the main protection being assured, the next paperworks will wait a bit. I’ll be more specific about the music stuff which might be boringfor many of you, on a shorter list of recipients.
Asking for funds and going on with the Small is Beautiful projetc also means an associative structure. So a few of us met urgently last week end to decide either to use Earth Day France, a NGO created many years ago, still in existence, or to create a new one. We decided to do/use both. The old one for its reputation, the new one to focus on Tuvalu.
We still have to decide about the name before signing the constitutive papers this afternoon. We were looking last year at “les amis de Tuvalu”, i.e. “Friends of Tuvalu”, as also suggested by Jocelyn and others while in Funafuti. But neither one will work. Too English for French institutions, too French for international. So we decided for tuvaluan language and everyone loving the sound of “alofa Tuvala” we hoped it meant something. Many people said it did not.... A couple said it was OK... Does it ? The different ways to say “I love Tuvalu” or “Friends of”, are uneasy to pronounce or remember for a palagi, too many words, too many voyelles. The shortest being « Tuvalu te Pele » and 'Pele Tuvalu' which means more « Tuvaluan love » or love from tuvalu, than « We love tuvalu ». The Pele sounds less warm, open, than “alofa”? If Alofa Tuvalu is out of the question, we might do with “Talofa Tuvalu” for which we dont need to add a “o”, “tu” or “te”. Any idea or comment is welcome...
That’s basically how this last month went : mainly turned towards tuvalu. I’m still virtually there.... And how not no think about you all when you pop up on my computer screen ?
I hope that 2005 started on a good trend for everyone and I send my best wishes for a year of joy, peace, love and wisdom to all.