Solomon Islands Environmental Activist
Commonwealth Point of Light 168. Gladys Habu
Gladys Habu, representing Solomon Islands, is an environmental activist who has campaigned for many years on a local and international level to advocate for increased awareness of the impact of climate change.
When she was 14 years old, Gladys first saw how rising sea levels were starting to affect an island near her home. Five years later, Kale island, where her grandparents had lived, completely disappeared. Gladys is now working with other young people from across the world ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow in November 2021 to drive forward greater awareness of the effects of climate change for Pacific Island countries. Gladys is also a UNICEF Pacific Supporter, focused on improving child and maternal health and acting as a role model to young women on the island.
Dr Brian Jones, British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and Nauru, said:
“Changes in our climate already impact people’s lives and livelihoods in the Pacific Islands. Already vulnerable to earthquakes and cyclones, intensive forestry and fisheries further affect traditional crops, coping mechanisms and biodiversity. Further changes from global warming will put some communities on the brink of devastation. Gladys is a powerful advocate of the need to act now and a positive example to young people of how to bring about change. I’m proud she has been awarded the Commonwealth Point of Light; it adds further prominence and power to her valuable message and work.”
“Climate change is not just an environmental crisis. It is a health crisis and a social crisis as well. As much as it is affecting our men, it is leaving our women and most importantly our children, vulnerable every day. Nonetheless I will forever value the fighting spirit our people have, to wake up each morning and face the challenge.
“When I began my advocacy work, I did it with so much heart and passion. In all honesty, to be granted this prestigious award by Her Majesty The Queen today, is more than I have ever imagined.
“In recognition of my work, you have also recognised our reality, living on the frontline of this climate crisis. Thank you for acknowledging the urgency in this issue. I am humbled to be a Commonwealth Points of Light awardee and will continue to play my part. It is my hope that this award will also encourage our people to take the stand in leading this fight as a nation.
“Embracing nature has always been part of me. But the loss of our island, Kale, is my drive to fighting for protection.”