Your Ideas Change My World- Christian-Yves Amato-Ali: Climate Change
While growing up, climate change was a vague concept for Christian-Yves Amato- Ali, and just a word that many would talk about. It did not take him long to learn that for many people in rural and maritime areas, this was their reality.
This included people in his village back in Oinafa, Rotuma. Christian grew up in Koronivia around the Nausori area in Fiji and this part of his upbringing gave him a lot of appreciation for life and the different struggles people go through.
Attending Marist Brothers High School, he was determined to study medicine, but fate had other plans for him, and he eventually pursued a degree in Environmental Science. This grew Christian’s knowledge of climate change and the threat it poses to people’s livelihood.
“Coming to university, everyone expects it to be hard, as soon as you start. I think just the way USP is set up, doesn’t make undergraduate studies that difficult. There is always support for students, we just need to be willing to get up and look or ask for help,” Christian said.
He added, “my undergraduate was set up in a way that we could study and learn and at the same time be able what we wanted to do. This just then took off for me with environmental science.”
Growing up Christian valued the stories he would hear from his grandfather who was originally from Tuvalu.
“My grandfather as most aged people in the Pacific loved to tell stories and there was so much humour in the way he told his stories. Even ones of climate change, even though we did not fully comprehend it at the time,” he shared.
Christian said, “we would sit and listen to my grandfather talk about certain places at home in Tuvalu that are today no longer there because the ocean has taken them away. This made me realise how much our communities were losing because of climate change.
Today, the 25-year-old is pursuing his Master’s in Science in Climate Change and is focused on food loss and that’s when I realised parts of our villages are disappearing, very soon it could be a people and its culture.”
The Proud Rotuman said he knew the same is happening in Rotuma and in other parts of Fiji, and setting out to pursue studies in climate change is also a chance to protect his and many other Pacific Island identities.
This set out the path for Christian and now in his final year, Christian is working towards linking food loss to climate resilience in his Master’s research.
His hope is that the research will be made use of by farmers not only in Tonga and Samoa where his research is based but for farmers across the Pacific.
“I am working on linking the losses that we identify in the Value Chain System of Taro and to find how this income if any can better support the resilience, of not just farming itself but the resilience of the family or the household,” he added.
He said, “hypothetically if a farmer saves $100 and put it into something that increases their resilience, like a water tank to better their water systems, this can sustain the household and farm during droughts or natural disasters.”
Christian explained that farmers being able to identify the food loss can eventually help them to better their farming system and help build their resilience to natural disasters.
He hopes his research will help farmers minimize their losses in cultivation and production, it will help improve farming practices and help build their farms and families resilience to natural disasters.
“I would like to think that following graduation, there will be time for me to share this research with farmers in local communities not just in Tonga and Samoa where most of this research is being conducted. I also strongly believe this research will help farmers across all Pacific Island countries.
He is encouraging other young people keen to make a difference to have an open mind about what they want to pursue at the university level.
Christian added that USP gave him a fun yet professional environment to pursue his passion in climate change studies and he is confident if other young people are focused on what they want to achieve, USP has the facilities and support to make their dream a reality.
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