On August 22 the climate change movement lost one of its fiercest advocates. Tony deBrum, former Marshall Islands foreign minister and climate ambassador, passed away aged 72. Considered a hero by many in his homeland, deBrum was a strong, committed voice in the campaign for greater protections for small island nations in the face of environmental change, and a crucial proponent of the historic Paris Agreement.
We asked Impolitikal contributor Selina Leem to reflect on her close bond with ‘Papa Tony’, and the impact of his passing.
Iakwe Papa Tony,
Thank you! The first time we met, you bestowed unto me such a bright smile, it surprised me a little bit. Suddenly I was engulfed in a warm, big hug as a boasting laugh escaped from you, causing tremors in your protruding belly and shoulders. I thought of my dear grandfather and feeling his protruding belly every time I hugged him.