Meet our keynote speakers series: Ms. Gladys Habu

A photo taken of myself and children in Lilisiana village, Malaita province (Solomon Islands), during community work through UNICEF in 2020

Can you tell us about your work on adaptation?

At present I am completing my Masters in the United Kingdom. However, in general all my voluntary work is focused around climate change awareness (as well as health), and contributing to the momentum that keeps the conversation going on behalf of our vulnerable populations. Our local people don’t always have a platform to raise their concerns on how climate loss & damage affects our homes, our culture, our environment, and ultimately our health. This conversation is crucial as I believe, personal stories from the people themselves, carries the power to not only support the science on how our planet is changing the way it is, but most importantly, to encourage empathy and engagement from those highly responsible for these dreadful consequences, to be held accountable. It is in this way, I hope relevant support is poured into adaptation strategies that will directly help the vulnerable, and that this support is well distributed within these populations. 

Our front yard back in Isabel province (Solomon Islands), to show how sea level continues to rise despite building our stone wall for protection from coastal erosion. 

Which area of your work (theme etc.) do you think includes the concept of transformation?

The concept of transformation in my understanding is multidimensional because it can mean different things to different people, communities or groups such as researchers, policy makers and more.  I feel transformation in the context of the changing environment is a process by which the root causes of climate change are strategically addressed in order to reduce carbon emissions, shift away from unsustainable trajectories and achieve a complete change that will bring about a healthy planet for us, our children and their children to come. Therefore, I believe my climate advocacy and participation in various events that educate people of the reality on the ground, contributes to the concept of transformation by engaging more people to understand the problem better and work towards practical solutions for change, whilst at the same time teaching our vulnerable people to realize that what we face daily as a result of climate change is not normal and it is our right to fight for climate justice.

How do you see this contributing to finding best practices to tackling climate change?

The best practice for tackling climate change lies within the commitment we all are willing to take. This global challenge has been spoken about for decades and yet we are only just getting started with action. My contribution to fighting climate change and achieving transformational change for a climate-safe future is small, compared to the amount of damage Earth is sustaining. But I have hope that the human race is capable of healing this broken planet, because I know many, many more people are also making their small contributions, and that combined will have the potential to make a huge impact. If we then couple this with even greater effort that should come from those highly responsible, I feel the process will progress more efficiently and at a better pace than what we are at today. At the end of the day, the loss of my grandparents island Kale, remains my line in the sand, and should be a red flag for the global community on what someone else’s future will be like if we do not act now.

More about Gladys Habu:

Gladys Habu is a passionate climate advocate who has voluntarily campaigned for years on local, regional, and international level to increase awareness on the climate emergency. Driven by the loss of her grandparents’ island called Kale, she focuses on amplifying the voices of those directly affected by climate change and sea level rise. Gladys strongly emphasizes the need to not only engage vulnerable small island developing states in global discussions but equally important, to enhance their accessibility to much needed practical support. She is also a UNICEF Pacific Ambassador focused on improving child and maternal health through her work around climate change, nutrition, immunization, and the prevention of COVID-19. Professionally, Gladys is a full time Hospital Pharmacist at the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital and currently completing a master’s in clinical pharmacy, International Practice and Policy, at University College London in the United Kingdom.