Sinking Feeling

Journalism, Weekend Sunrise

30 September 2014

Sitting at home in our ivory towers it’s hard to comprehend the reality of climate change. But when your country is vanishing due to rising sea levels it hits home pretty hard.

I had the privilege of interviewing the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, two weekends ago. He was late to our studio so I talked to him in his ear and we recorded his questions, putting them together into this segment the next morning.

One of the questions I asked was: “Mr President, I can only imagine how incredibly frustrating and angry you must feel at having to deal with the consequences of actions that are not your own, while those who caused those consequences refuse to accept them. How does that make you feel?”

He never gave me a direct answer (I guess being a president means he has to watch his words), but through the entire interview I got the sense of an immense calmness and control. Yes he was angry but throwing his arms in the air wouldn’t achieve anything. Instead he directed that energy into authority, into patience and into trying to save other people from the mistakes they are still making.

Watch for yourself.

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