As part of the It Takes Roots (ITR) delegation, representatives of Island Nations, including Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Northern Mariana Islands spoke inside COP26 and brought the voices and concerns of Islanders to the world stage. This is a profoundly important juncture for islanders and a turning point in climate change dialogues, so many Island Nations are on the brink of complete annihilation. After Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and ETA and IOTA in the Central American Caribbean coast, Islanders are being exposed to the particular cycle of post-disaster capitalism.  Bound to become more frequent in the future. We will bring island and coastal people’s voices and highlight the particular connections between ecofeminism, militarism and net zero burdens. They also lifted up the grassroots solutions islanders offer to the climate crisis.


Among the speakers were Sheila Babauta of Micronesia Climate Change Alliance will address the situation in the Pacific region. Sheila Babauta is passionate about contributing to a brighter Marianas. At the age of 29, she gained the trust and confidence of her community and began serving as a member in the 21st CNMI House of Representatives. Sheila continues to serve in the 22nd CNMI Legislature and currently holds key leadership positions as Chairwoman of the Natural Resources Committee, Vice-Chairwoman of the Education Committee, and Floor Leader of the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation. Sheila says, “I am attending COP26 as an indigenous woman from the US territories in the Pacific. With the increasing militarization of the Pacific region and the climate crisis at our shorelines, we must join our allies to amplify our voices and unify on climate solutions.”

Marissa Reyes-Diaz, Farmer and Organizer with Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica – Marissa Reyes Díaz from Juncos, Puerto Rico has a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao. Since high school, she has developed an interest in biology, science, and society. Took an agroecology course with the El Josco Bravo project in 2014. In 2015, she channeled her knowledge with social interests and began a conversation with a group of people to develop an agroecological project. Since then, Güakiá, Colectivo Agroecológico has existed. At present, she also works in the non-profit organization El Puente: Latino Climate Action Network coordinating the Walk: Puerto Rico against Climate Change and mobilization. Activist and farmer. She believes in collective work, community power, food sovereignty, solidarity economy, alliances and collaboration.