No Place Like Home

No one spread a mat for Selai.

Born and raised in Vunidogoloa, a Fijian community that was forced to relocate due to the impact of climate change, Selai felt unwelcome in her new home. 

“When I walked into the house, I did not find my mat,” she said, referencing the Pacific Islanders’ custom of welcoming family members and honored guests alike to sit at the same level on mats on the floor. “It felt like I don’t belong here.”

Since 2014, the island nation of Fiji has had roughly four such relocations. According to Frances Namoumou [nah-moo-moo], the Ecological Stewardship and Climate Justice program coordinator for the Pacific Conference of Churches, or the PCC, the churches of the Pacific have envisioned worst-case scenarios. Climate change, as well as the catastrophic impact of the cyclone season, contribute to the mounting number of necessary relocations.

The PCC’s call to peacemaking — including addressing the mental health concerns that result from the impact of climate change — is made possible in part by gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering.