Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Dimwit Dan

HommeVert writes to say:

Wow … you heard about the Carterets in 2005, that makes you an expert. I’ve known them since 1965. The atoll is SINKING!! (as they do) you dimwit. It’s nothing to do with sea level rise — that’s a PNG government ruse to get international aid. “Gullible … moi?”

You have to hand it to the boy, he’s got a way with words…

In response I’d say three things:

Firstly, no, I’m not an expert. That’s why I’m going to the Carterets – to find out what is going on.

Secondly, yes, atolls sink. But they do so over geological time. What is different here is the rate of change. On the Carterets, grown men can show you where the sea level was when they were a child, out way beyond where the tide reaches now. 

Thirdly, I’m not convinced the PNG government is using this as a ruse to win international aid – though that may well be happening elsewhere. I haven’t seen them ask for, or receive, any aid on the back of what is happening (please correct me if I’m wrong). In fact, my understanding is that the NGO organising the evacuation is stuck because no donors seem willing to give them the funding they need. Instead, they’re currently planning to hold a corporate dinner they hope will raise even a few thousand pounds.

Over to you GreenMan…

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