Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Throwim way leg

“In New Guinea Pidgin, throwim way leg means to go on a journey. It describes the action of  thrusting out your leg to take the first steps of what can be a long march…Mi bai throwim way leg nau (I’m starting my journey now) still has literal meaning, for even today walking is the only means of travel inn much of New Guinea. The island’s topography is so rugged that roads service only a tiny portion of it….Furthermore, there are no pack animals in New Guinea and, until the arrival of aircraft, New Guineans living in adjacent valleys, or in the mountains and on the coast, were as isolated from each other as people living on different continents. This helps explain why New Guinea is home to about 1000 languages – one sixth of the world total.”

Tim Flannery. Throwim Way Leg

– Postscript: Well, the first steps of this journey haven’t gone as well as they might. The train down to London from Shropshire was due to take three hours, but got stuck behind another with locked brakes and didn’t move at all for almost as long again. People took this pretty well at first, even cheering when we did start rolling, until the conductor announced it had been decided to cancel our train, dump us all at Banbury and let us get picked up by another train that had itself spent the last few hours stuck in a queue behind us. This made one woman cry. Worse, at Banbury the next train to arrive wasn’t going to London either. Unfortunately, most of the people from my train didn’t stop to check this before bustling on and are now heading, mistakenly, to Reading. I tried to warn them. On the bright side, this meant that when the London train did arrive a few minutes later, the few of us who were left did all get a seat.


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