Indonesia's Pari Island seeks climate change justice

Indonesia's Pari Island seeks climate change justice

PARI ISLAND: Sitting near a wall of stacked rocks, fisherman Mustagfirin looks out to sea from the tiny Indonesian island of Pari, wondering whether his home will exist for much longer.

His battered wooden boat is only anchored offshore, where trees and statues that were once on the beach now sit about 40 km north of the capital, Jakarta.

I am very saddened and terrified that Pari Island might disappear in the next 10 or 20 years, the 52-year-old told AFP.

Most of the 42 hectare island could sink because of rising sea levels by the year 2050, according to environmentalists.

The island's residents are seeking justice, and last month sued Swiss cement giant Holcim over its emissions.

They claim that the world's largest cement firm is responsible for climate-related losses and damages in a case that could be a landmark for plaintiffs from developing countries who take industrial giants.

In recent years, environmental litigation against governments and fossil fuel firms has surged, but this is the first case filed by Indonesians against a foreign company for climate-related damage.

It is the first instance of a Swiss company being sued for its alleged role in climate change.

Puspa Dewy, an environmentalist at Indonesian NGO Walhi, said that Winning this case could spark the spirit of other islanders affected by climate change to demand justice.

The spirit of activism can be seen across the picturesque, flat island where posters and graffiti are plastered with Save Pulau Pari and Climate Justice Now.