Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Am I a disgrace?

Let’s deal with the criticism first. This, from Simon McGrath:

“A disgraceful piece of propoganda. No attempt at all to suggest any other rason the islands may be sinking -like being in an earthquake belt.”

Now, I think I’ve nailed this elsewhere on the blog, but it doesn’t hurt to do so again here. Because you know what? Simon is right…

 The Carterets are in an area with a lot of earthquakes. They also sit close to a few active volcanoes. And, at the end of the day, it is in the geological nature of coral atolls to sink. All of these on their own could be causing the islands to sink into the sea and the storms to tear away what’s left. Or it could be climate change. Or it could be that climate change is making the effects of geological sibsidence far, far worse. Or it could be none of the above.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter. What counts is that people – really nice people – are going hungry and their lives on the islands are coming to an end. Soemone has to respond. Even more importantly, what is happening to the Carterets is exactly in line with our best models of what climate change will do to other people, on other islands and coastlines across the world. So we have to learn from what is happening here because we are going to face this crisis again and again and again.

Here endeth the lesson.

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4 Comments»

  DEREK C KOKOLAY wrote @

yes! it may be inevitable the islands may sink, as humans we have been given the capacity to think and make things right so there is a future for the islanders and also for a lesson to be learned by ourselves in not to abuse the planet and its capacity. we have the technological know how, lets work together and come up with strategies to save the islands, and work with the islanders.

  mgoi wrote @

your right, it may be “non of te above” its interesting to note however, buka island and Kokopo have not had any recorded “sinking”.

Its no disgrace to help our fellow human, just to fall for an “INCONSISTANT truth” such is climate change.

  Wolfy wrote @

Dan makes very good points, both about the possible reasons for the predicament of the Carteret Islanders and most especially with regard to the fact that many more people are going to experience similar situations.

And ‘mgoi’, Buka Island is not a coral atoll. Be careful comparing it to the Carterets.

  Ryecroft wrote @

“Even more importantly, what is happening to the Carterets is exactly in line with our best models of what climate change will do to other people, on other islands and coastlines across the world.”

I’m not sure I understand. Volcanic islands suffering erosion in an area of unexceptional sea level rise are experiencing inundation and the population have had to move. Which climate change models cover this? I would appreciate the details please.


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