Climate Buzz

Heartfelt Tweets From The Marshall Islands’ Fearless Climate Warrior

Photo and Tweets: @MattlanZackhras /
Photo and Tweets: @MattlanZackhras /

The Marshall Islands are fighting for survival, and tweets from one of the country’s chief climate diplomats show the fight is personal.

Mattlan Zackhras is a government minister and frequently represents his country at international climate change meetings. He only recently joined Twitter, but has already demonstrated a knack for conveying his message in 140 characters.

The Marshall Islands – home to some 70.000 – are a collection of 29 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean and increasingly suffer from devastating flooding and droughts. The country has made international climate action a national priority.

Zackhras joined his international colleagues at a ministerial meeting in Marrakesh this week ahead of the COP22 climate summit scheduled for 7 – 18 November.

“Hard being at Pre-COP as king tides hit my island home,” he tweeted alongside photos showing floodings, “Powerful reminder of why we all need to do more. Fighting for all those affected.”

Just last week, his colleague Tony de Brum – the Marshall Islands’ climate ambassador – had welcomed Zackhras to Twitter, calling him “a fearless climate warrior.”

Zackhras also attended last week’s negotiations in Rwanda with the aim of updating the Montreal Protocol to phase out a powerful greenhouse gas.

“Refuse to leave without an ambitious HFCs phase down,” he tweeted, adding “This is personal,” saying that his country relies on it.

He tweeted a photo of EU climate chief Miguel Arias Cañete and US secretary of state John Kerry celebrating a breakthrough in the negotiations.

“Inseparable,” tweeted Zackhras, pointing to the international High Ambition Coalition that he and his European and American colleagues are part of.

At some point during the negotiations, Zackhras sat down with the EU’s Cañete and his “island brothers and sisters.”

The minister tweeted a photo of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Gina McCharthy, calling her a “tireless champion for climate.”

He tweeted that the US was “arm-in-arm” with islands and the High Ambition Coalition in the fight for a deal to ban HFCs.

“This is what it is all about for me,” tweeted Zackhras after the deal was reached. “Just called my kids to tell them what we did today,” he said while stressing he really wanted to thank his fellow ministers.

Want to help Zackhras save the Marshall Islands? Find out how the EU’s Climate-KIC can help you get started in the zero carbon economy.

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