The changing of the (mud)guard
Writing for PNG Attitude

Let’s have an environment repentance day

Nickson's team on the Kokoda Track as part of their marathon walk (T4G)
Nickson's team on the Kokoda Track as part of their marathon walk to fight climate change (T4G)

PETER S KINJAP

PORT MORESBY - Climate change is a global crisis and a multi-sectoral issue. It will take every living person in this decade to do something, big or small, to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to changes in weather patterns.

Nickson McManga, 35, from Kumdii in Western Highlands and his voice on climate change may not be as big as Greta Thunberg’s on the global scale but his is still a " compelling voice on the most important issue facing the planet”.

Nickson is a local environmental activist who is creative and vocal on climate issues.

He did his research and started telling people at every available public gathering about the impacts of global climate change.

“The world is approaching catastrophic climate impact, its growing each day,” Nickson says. “Amongst many approaches to address climate crisis, is one is to plant more trees.

“Tree planting can help reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As trees grow, they absorb and store carbon dioxide emissions that drive global heating.”

Nickson started a local Mt Hagen environmental and eco-tourism activism group, Paradise of Kumdii Climate Change Awareness, who volunteered to undertake a long trek from Mt Hagen to Port Moresby.

“The purpose of this walkathon is to make people aware of the effects of climate change and to promote ecotourism in Papua New Guinea,” Nickson said.

“Everyone is talking about the impacts of climate change and to support the campaign these seven trekkers planted 30 trees each in their communities before they commenced their journey.

“This year 2020 will be the final year for our three years of creating awareness for climate change. The volunteers propose 3 November to be observed as National Environment Repentance Day.”

It’s proposed that on National Environment Repentance Day each year, a number of activities will occur:

All men and women over 18 shall plant three trees each

Nickson with his 7-man Mt Hagen tree planting squad (T4G)
Nickson with his 7-man Mt Hagen tree planting squad (T4G)

People will repent from their bad actions towards the earth and the environment.

There will be awareness raising of the important of trees and long term action to address climate change

“If the government, through the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Protection, accepts our volunteer policy on tree planting, it’s anticipated that we can save millions of kina by planting millions of trees.

“If we have PNG National Environment Repentance Day gazette as a national event to be observed nationwide, it will help take care of our environment,” Nickson said.

Nickson became a pastor with the Healing The Land (HTL) missionary group after graduating with a Certificate in Bible Translation at Aiyura Summer Institute of Linguistics in Eastern Highlands.

For the last 10 years he has been studying and working on environmental matters to actualise his inspiration to advocate for environmental concerns and fight the climate crisis.

He is pushing for his idea to be accepted by the government in order that 3 November will be commemorated as PNG’s National Environment Repentance Day.

Nickson’s group has teamed up with Travel4Green (T4G) PNG, www.t4gpng.org, in its Planting 10 Million Trees by 2030 program.

T4G PNG is a not-for-profit private project that has a nationwide volunteer network on climate change issues, including planting more trees and mangroves and conserving existing forests.

Peter S Kinjap is a freelance correspondent on Climate Change issues. Email pekinjap@gmail.com

Comments

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Nickson McManga

Thank you Peter Kinjap for publishing our climate change story. Having said that, PNG is well positioned to fight climate change with its diverse naturally geography which I consider one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

PNG is the third largest rainforest island in the world and produce tones of oxygen and absorb tons of carbon dioxide. Fighting GHG Emission on a voluntary basis.

Everyone is now talking about the impact of climate change and – from diplomats to politicians to NGOs and individuals from within PNG and abroad.

To support the campaign against the effects of climate change, those 7 men had plant 30 trees each in their own community before they commence their journey on the 3rd November, 2019. They will continue to carry out this program for three years.

Paradise of Kumdii Initiative is a community base program to support our indigenous people by creating sustainable environmental program.

By conserving and managing our forest for sustainable development along with relevant authorities like Climate Change Department, Environment and Conservation, Tourisim Promotion Authority, Department of Community Development and the National Government.

The Mt Hagen active city has organized a Walkathon of 7 x men out of 77 targeted from Western Highlands & Port Moresby Active City Development Volunteers for the awareness on Climate Change, Plastic Ban, Free West Papua and Promotion of Ecotourism from 27th
October to 3rd November, 2019 starting off their awareness on the vehicle from Mt. Hagen
to Lae by road and via boat on sea to Popondetta.

While there, they did open air awareness in the morning and overnight at Kokoda Station and walked 3 x days and 3x nights on the Kokoda Track.

It is widely dependent that developing countries are facing the impacts of climate change.

Due to their reliance on local natural resources and agriculture dependent lifestyle as their primary socio-economic activities. And lack of infrastructure mechanisms for adaptation will create complications in rural and highly populated towns and cities in PNG.

Our biodiversity is at imminent risk and is experiencing exogenous shocks such as coastal flooding, inland
flooding impacting agriculture and fisheries yield changes are threatening food security in PNG.

While walking they collected plastics along the track and did advocate nearby villagers about the detrimental effects of plastic litter by humans.

The level of careless disposal of plastics is another threatening obscenity in Papua New Guinea and its affecting the natural beauty of our environment in which we live.

Plastic bags ruin the appearance of just about everything from the cities and towns to the villages and it is becoming a global threat to sea and land animals including humans in the food chain.

The small team accomplish the purpose of their walkathon by making people aware of the effects of climate change, plastic ban and promoted ecotourism in PNG 2019.

They celebrated, promoted, and encouraged our people to protect and preserve their unique cultures and traditions and the pristine environments in which they live in through
Ecotourism in PNG.

If Papua New Guinea Government can contribute to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism from community base, by encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development program and mobilizing volunteers.

To support the campaign against the effects of climate change, those 7 men planted 30 trees each in their own community before they commenced their journey to Port Moresby through the Kokoda Track.

They will continue to carry out this program for 3 years come every November. At a later stage, all men above age of 18 years old will be tasked to plant 3 trees to commemorate 3rd November of every year to support Paris Climate Change Agreement.

This year will be the final year of our climate change campaign Therefore we would like to make it bigger and better with the help of media as our platform for our awareness.

PNG is naturally blessed the only foolish shellfish politician who are running our country's sovereignty to the ground level.

Once again Thank you so much Ian Ritchie and Peter for taking our stories to the world.

Ian Ritchie

I am continually amazed at the courage and forethought, committed individuals can muster.

What a fantastic idea. Imagine the possibility of a global environment repentance day.

A day where the global media could focus on positive action and perhaps even call out those who continue to wantonly destroy our most precious commodity, the natural world.

I have always loved nature, however when I was younger I was also mesmerised by the captivating displays of man-made ingenuity. Road, rail and infrastructure carved out of wilderness to create these megalithic monuments to human superiority.

That fixation of mine was eventually broken when I started to travel.

I recall thinking as a youngster passing through road works on the way to Sydney, how wonderful it would be when this multi-lane freeway is complete, cutting hours off the Brisbane to Sydney drive.

Now I realise those works will never be complete. As soon as one section is done, another one has fallen into dangerous disrepair and in desperate need of being redone.

I was also excited once, to arrive for the very first time into a city that television had embedded in my subconscious as a gleaming example of success - Miami, Florida, USA.

It did not take long for me to realise what a hovel it actually was. I was there for a few days before it dawned on me that I just wanted to get out of the disgusting, dirty and rundown city.

In a similar vein, whilst noticing the disintegrating pavements of Abu Dhabi and the dust and sand covered city of Dubai, I come to the realisation that even the obscene oil driven wealth of the Arabs failed to keep these mirror and glass skyscrapers new and serviceable. The chinks in the shiny armour was noticeable everywhere.

What I had learned is that nature will always win. The only time it will not is if we, as the predominant species on earth, destroy everything.

So why are we fighting so hard to beat nature? The answer is simple. It is to make our lives easier. The industrial revolution certainly did that, but now we have opportunity.

We now have the increasing knowledge and past lessons to guide us in continuing to lead sophisticated lives, but doing so more and more in harmony with nature.

Papua New Guinea is already a world leader at this. One of the world's most important habitats. A society which can leap-frog the mistakes of the so called developed nations.

PNG is in a unique situation of being strategically placed geographically and have an abundance of what the world wants (minerals) and needs (oxygen generating and carbon sequestering forests), with a natural diversity which is not just beautiful and stunning, but ideally structured to provide clean energy (solar, wind, geothermal, hydro), abundant lands which are rich and fertile and weather patterns which perfectly provide all the elements for substantial food and energy production.

Perhaps as part of this fantastic concept of environment repentance day, you may also like to invite those PNG politicians keen to promote coal fired power generation, to bring their money boxes (Mayur Resources and Darren Lockyer) to meet the people and explain why they are proposing to pollute PNG with dangerous 19th century technology when an abundance of cost effective alternatives exist.

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