Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Journey of a Lifetime…

…or, what am I doing?

In March 2009 (about four weeks and counting, no pressure) I will be traveling to the Carteret Islands, a tiny coral atoll off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

carteret21

I know, it does looks nice. But, as climate change causes the sea level to rise, these islands are being flooded – already the Islanders’ drinking water and crops have been poisoned by salt, and one entire island has been cut in half by the tides. The population of about 1000 will now become the first entire people to officially be evacuated because of climate change. The first five families will leave in March, to Bouganville, a larger island about 50 miles away across the open sea. I’m hoping to get there in time to see the first boat leave, and to record what I think will be a watershed in our human history.

Funding for the expedition has come from the 2009 Journey of a Lifetime Award, supported by the Royal Geographical Society and the BBC. As part of the award, I will be taking a Nagra recording device with me and sticking my microphone in the face of everyone I find in order to make a Radio 4 documentary on my return.

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