The Moana Pasifika Super Rugby team has decided to boycott its first ever game just hours before kick off in order to protest inaction on climate change. The players from Pacific Island nations are demanding that countries like Australia do more to reverse climate change which threatens Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the Cook Islands.
“Sea levels are rising and already threatening the homelands of the players which make up this team,” began a statement from the new franchise.
“This is caused by climate change, and climate change is being driven by wealthy countries such as Australia, where we will play many of our games and where some of the players have played and lived for years. We made this difficult decision after much discussion and in order to draw attention to this urgent issue.”
The statement went on to explain how Australia has the highest per capita carbon footprint of any nation on earth and is contributing greatly to the climate crisis. The country, which is home to four Super Rugby franchises, continues to burn and export coal, and is planning to expand the fossil fuel industry.
Furthermore, various members of the new Moana Pasifika team have played for the Wallabies.
“Our players are already seeing the lands of their ancestors adversely affected by rising sea levels. Salt water from the ocean is mixing with fresh water and ruining the crops on which people have relied for generations. If fossil fuels continue to be dug up and burned, entire low-lying islands could be underwater and residents would lose their homes.”
“For this reason, we have put family and country head of the sport we love and decided to boycott our first ever game. We hope the boycott will convince rugby fans and rugby loving politicians to move Australia away from fossil fuels and other destructive practices, and towards a future with renewable energy.”
Players from other Super Rugby teams expressed their support for the stand via social media, as many of them have Pasifika heritage.
In response, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison tweeted a photo of himself in his Cronulla Sharks rugby league jersey.