This was the statement made by 24-year-old Gladys Habu, the newly-crowned Miss Solomon Islands who will be travelling to Port Moresby later this month to represent her country at the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant. She is part Papua New Guinean, a graduate in Pharmacology (with Honours) from Monash University in Melbourne, and a climate change action champion.
“We have learnt to adapt and fight but we can’t do it on our own. I believe as people of planet earth and climate change action fighters, we can do more to slow down this harmful process,” she continued. “We need global support. Let us stand together and protect what we have left of our heritage.”
Habu is the granddaughter of Late Sir Dennis Young of Milne Bay, the former speaker of the PNG National Parliament. Her father is from Santa Isabel.
If you Google Kale Island, the name Gladys Habu and her story 'No more laughter on the beach': One woman's emotional return to the small islands now under water’ about the sinking island of Kale in Santa Isabel will come up.
Not only is she a stunner with brains, Habu’s concern for her sinking islands were featured this year in a British television documentary on ITV news in London – see link below.
Her island’s story was also featured on 60 Minutes on Australia’s Channel 9 with journalist Liam Bartlett in support of research done by Queensland University's Dr Simon Albert.
“It was very emotional for me, having to dig up old childhood memories of our lovely Kale Island. However I am humbled to have had the privilege to share on such a platform,” she said at that time.
“It was a pleasure to share not only my experience, but also photos that I personally took of Kale island, through my observations in its last years and post disappearance.”
During the Miss Solomon Islands pageant, Habu strongly advocated for action against climate change effects and also advocated for awareness and prevention of cancers affecting women.
Miss Pacific islands, Leoshina Kariha, who was invited to crown Miss Solomon Islands on November 1, said the calibre of young women who contested the pageant was a true reflection of how far the Pacific women had come in defining their role of leadership in society.
In her speech at the crowning she said: “I and many throughout the region have been following each woman’s advocacy messages and we are astounded by the women’s boldness in lending their voices for the important causes they each stand for. I hope that they will continue the valuable work they have started on this platform, in their own communities.”
Miss Kariha said the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant had come a long way.
“Today, the crown will sit upon the head of the woman that has displayed sound intellectual capability, humility and profound cultural grounding. She will be an authentic role model for other young women and girls in the nation and region to watch and follow, as she displays what it is, to be an Esther, standing firm for hope and positive change amidst the challenges we face, as islanders today.
“I am looking forward to handing over the Miss Pacific Islands crown on home shores, in the nation’s capital, Port Moresby, where we prepare to stage a spectacular show and display the best the region has to offer. With the theme: ‘Pacific We Are! One Step, One Aspiration’, our goal is to find the common place of unity in our ethnically diverse region. And we are eager to welcome your reigning Miss Solomon Islands and delegation and provide you an experience of a lifetime in Papua New Guinea, the land of a million different journeys!”
(Miss Solomon Islands, Gladys Habu, with Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Kariha)