But you can’t take the Bula out of the girl. Leaving Fiji has certainly been bittersweet, somewhat like that variety of chocolate which you cannot find in Fiji and was my first American food coming home (thanks Jason). My experience at the IUCN was amazing. I’ve never worked with people who were so welcoming and generous, I wasn’t expecting it.
If you haven’t heard, Fiji will be cohosting COP 23 of the UNFCCC with Sweden this November. This is a pretty big deal because it is the first time a small island developing state has taken this role. As an environmental policy student, and as an American, it is quite the change to see how prominent climate change is in Fiji. The newspaper has a section dedicated to the environment and the UN Oceans Conference is headline news. Fiji is in a tough spot because like the rest of Oceania, their contributions to climate change are minuscule while they are about to face some of its earliest consequences.
Our first few weeks in Fiji have been a series of juxtapositions. Aimee and I live in an admittedly grimy, traffic ridden city but are only a bus ride away from pristine beaches. I spend my working hours researching Ocean Policy Frameworks in the South Pacific but still happily chow down on tuna which is almost assuredly undersized. Everyone has been so kind and generous since we have arrived. Our landlords gave us the last avocado off their tree our first week here.