Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Why am I doing this?

A few years ago, in December 2005, I read a newspaper article that said the Carteret Islands were to be evacuated, making the islands’ 1000 people the first to officially be made refugees by of climate change. I was working for The Australian newspaper at the time and tore the article out, pinning it to the wall above my desk. This was important, I told myself. A signal moment in human history. I should be there to witness it. Over the next couple of years, as I moved desks around the office, that article followed me. Watching me as I worked.
I read another newspaper story today that reminded me why I first pinned that article to the wall. The Artic explorer Pen Hadow is leading an expedition to measure how much of that icy world is being lost as the world warms.
“I thought: I could be the amplifier or explainer,” Hadow says. “I might be the person to reach out to as wide an audience as possible, globally, to tell them what’s going on. That’s what explorers do, classically. They discover information and then have the potential to engage audiences…
“What captivated me more than anything was that I could do this. For once in my life I was in the right place at the right time.”

You can follow Hadow’s expedition here.

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