Journey to the Sinking Lands

A witness to the world's first evacuation of an entire people due to climate change

Wrong again…

… yep, turns out the show must go on. In fact, the show is going international (well, Scotland), as I’ve just been invited to give a small-but-perfectly-formed lecture for the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

I’ve only got the dates so far (below) but more details as I get ’em.

Monday 11th October – Inverness
Tuesday 12th October – Perth
Wednesday 13th October – Stirling


This will, I think, be my last post. I left the Carterets over a year ago now and have been privileged to have that journey, and those people, dominate my life since. I’ve lost track of the number of places I have been to talk about what is happening, as well as the number of articles  written and interviews I’ve done. On Wednesday, I gave my last in the series of regional lectures organised by the Royal Geographical Society (and IBG), at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton, Somerset, and I couldn’t have wished for a nicer audience with which to finish. I had to draw the questions at the end to a close, but could easily have gone on talking for hours. The night before, in London, we didn’t win the One World Media Award for radio documentary of the year (though the doco that did is well worth a listen), but I genuinely don’t mind. The whole thing has been a pleasure from start to finish. I still keep in touch every now and then with Ruth from the islands, who calls when she is on the Bougainville mainland and lets me know what is happening, but it feels like this chapter of my life is drawing to a close. I have a standing invitiation to go back to the islands, Ruth says, though I don’t know if I should take it. I think it is more important that other people – academics, scientists, aid workers, governments – visit the islands now, and try to learn some of the lessons from this, first, evacuation of a people before we face many more like it in the years to come. So, to all of you who have shared the journey, thanks. It’s been a pleasure.


Breaking news

I’ve just heard – the Journey for the Lifetime doco is a finalist for the 2010 One World Media Awards. Very exiting and all props to producer Simon Elmes, who took a whole bunch of my raw ramblings and turned it into a proper documentary.

The awards night is June 22, and I’m looking forwards to a good old knees-up. After all, I’ve seen the list of past winners and am sure the competition is as stiff again, but at the very least you get a free dinner.


Dear Dan,
We are 6LB, and we are learning about journalism…We have some questions for you!
When you went to the islands was it an emotional experinace?  from Megan
As a journalist, have you ever been put in a dangerous situation? from Alice
What have you learnt from going to the Island?from Alex
Wheres the furthest you’ve ever been as a journalist? from Natasha
why did you become a journalist when your life could be at state?from Sam
As a journalist do you ever get put under preasure? from Hannah
Do you write for a certain paper or do you sell your stories? From Jess
What was your favourite part of your journy? from phoebe
what  are conditions like? from Taylor
Do you enjoy traveling to different areas?from Heather
did your trip to the island teach you anything?from victoria
Is it sometimes hard doing your job ????from ALEX
where has been you favourite place to write a newspaper report? from Megan K
Where has been the most memrabole visit, and why? from Natasha
HI ,do you enjoy meeting new people???FROM SOPHIE
What do you most enjoy about being a journalist? from Lily
How often do you go on trips to write about a story?????From Megan
Read the rest of this entry »


A very nice lady from Reuters called me up the other day to talk about the Carterets. You can read what she had to say here – it’s a nicely considered piece with a good focus on what I think is the most important thing about the evacuation of the islands, which is that we should be paying them more attention as a case study of something we will see a whole lot more of soon all around the world (more on this subject soon).

Also, the first of the regional lectures I am giving on the trip is next Thursday at the Stamford Arts Centre in Lincolnshire, so buy a ticket while they’re hot. At the very least it’s an increasingly-rare chance to catch me wearing a suit…

This just in

I’ve just been told that the BBC are entering the Journey of a Lifetime doco, which went out on Radio 4, for this year’s One World Media awards. Very exiting stuff, but the competition will be amazing, so I’m not getting any hopes up yet. I’ll let you know if anything happens.

On tour

A few more tour dates have been added for next year, which I have listed in the column to the right. As well as these public dates, I’ve also been asked to speak at quite a few schools, colleges and university societies. I’m pursuing a policy of saying yes to all of these invitations – after all, I was given a slab of money to make the Journey of a Lifetime, the least I can do is share the experience – which means I’m going to be nice and busy in 2010.

Talking and (silly) walking

I gave the Monday Night Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society about the Carterets journey this week (would have blogged earlier, but have been laid up with flu). It was a real privilege, it was good fun and a great way to end the year on a project that, to my suprise, has come to dominate the year.

A whole bunch of friends and family came down to watch, as well as the entire class six of Clearwell Primary School – one of the schools that I visited before and after I went to the islands, and who followed the journey live on this blog. The Society president, Michael Palin, hosted the night and seemed pretty happy with how it went. He also got me very drunk on port at the dinner afterwards. Despite all this dutch courage, however, I never had the guts to ask him to show me his silly walk…

On the road again

I’ve been asked to go on tour by the Royal Geographical Society, talking about the Carterets trip as part of their regional lecture series next year. I’ll post more details when I get them but, until then, these are the dates I have so far:

February 25, 2010. Stamford Arts Centre, Lincolnshire.

March 30, 2010. Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon.

May 6, 2010. The Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton.

World Service

A version of the Journey of a Lifetime doco has been broadcast on the BBC World Service. I missed it (though with any luck some of the those I met in Papua New Guinea did not), but you can catch it here.