Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Archive for July, 2009

Hello Mr Postman

envelope 001Oh my,

the shell money has arrived. A DHL van arrived with it in the middle of arainstorm this morning. I stood out on the road in my raincoat to meet the driver, feeling about a million miles away from the tropical island on which the shell money was made (technically, about 16,000 miles away).

What do I do? The shell money has been sent by the islanders, so i can pay bride-price for Elle when we get married next month. I’m supposed to hang it around her neck during the ceremony. But should I open it now? Should I show Elle? Should I save it as a surprise? So exiting.

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Pacific Rising

Oxfam email to say they have released a new report,  The Future is Here, on rising seas and climate change in the Pacific. It contains a lot that reminds me of the Carterets, like photos of people building sea walls from lumps of coral as defence against king tides (they don’t work). The people, the houses, the lines of sea and sand, all look familiar.

It talks a lot of sense too – includding something I haven’t seen before. Oxfam reckon the cost of emissions reductions and equipping those countries feelign the brunt to cope with climate change to be AUD $187 billion each year.  On the basis that the polluter pays, they work out Australia’s fair share to be $4.3 billion a year. New Zealand gets off lightly – only asked to pony up NZ $79n million . To be honest, I reckon those numbers must be pretty rubbery but even if they are in the right ballpark…it doesn’t sound like much.

Congratulations Clearwell

Well done Clearwell school. I mean it, I’m dead impressed. You can always rely on children to sort things out.
What am I talking about?

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Letter from Papua New Guinea

envelopeI’ve just received this letter from a friend, Ruth Marcella, on the islands:



a soasa, I hope you are doing well, how are you, Is your good memories still of the Carterets Islands?

I want to talk to you about the shell money. Dan, it is a special gift to you by the group 4 Community. You know you have respected so much our livinng, Culture and Customs. The way we eat and everything, and you have also done what we were not expecting you to do because we know it’s impossible for white man to do, but you did it excellent.

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Plant a seed…

Hell, I was grumpy this morning. Up at six to drive down to a primary school in the Forest of Dean to do an assembly about the Carteret trip. Elle tried to give me a kiss and I think my response was  something along the lines of ‘I don’t have time to muck around’ (note to all fiancees – a; yes, you do have time to muck around and b; you better appreciate it while you can, or priveleges will be withdrawn).

But, the moment I got out the car, my mood lightened. How could it not when as soon as I stood up I could hear the kids in the playground saying ‘There’s Dan!’ ‘Dan’s coming!’ ‘Dan’s coming!’ ‘Dan’s here!’

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