Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Archive for Thanks


This will, I think, be my last post. I left the Carterets over a year ago now and have been privileged to have that journey, and those people, dominate my life since. I’ve lost track of the number of places I have been to talk about what is happening, as well as the number of articles  written and interviews I’ve done. On Wednesday, I gave my last in the series of regional lectures organised by the Royal Geographical Society (and IBG), at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton, Somerset, and I couldn’t have wished for a nicer audience with which to finish. I had to draw the questions at the end to a close, but could easily have gone on talking for hours. The night before, in London, we didn’t win the One World Media Award for radio documentary of the year (though the doco that did is well worth a listen), but I genuinely don’t mind. The whole thing has been a pleasure from start to finish. I still keep in touch every now and then with Ruth from the islands, who calls when she is on the Bougainville mainland and lets me know what is happening, but it feels like this chapter of my life is drawing to a close. I have a standing invitiation to go back to the islands, Ruth says, though I don’t know if I should take it. I think it is more important that other people – academics, scientists, aid workers, governments – visit the islands now, and try to learn some of the lessons from this, first, evacuation of a people before we face many more like it in the years to come. So, to all of you who have shared the journey, thanks. It’s been a pleasure.



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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Money (well) spent

Spent a good part of today going through the various pots, pockets and bank accounts used to finance the expedition to make sure I have at least some idea of where all the money went. It’s amazing how complicated things can get when you are working in an economy where the sea shell is a recognised form of currency and the nearest bank is a three-hour boat ride away, and doesn’t accept your card.

Doing so has really driven home that this expedition simply would not have been possible without generous support, and among those who provided it, I would particularly like to single out the Ashden Trust.

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Dan at work 001I will make it. I caught the only flight out of Buka today, to Port Moresby, a jungle-hopper that stopped first in Rabaul and Lae. Tomorrow I fly to Brisbane and from there, a few hours later, to Singapore and London. I arrive late on Thursday afternoon, in time for the service at the crematorium on Friday. Read the rest of this entry »

Onya Liam

I’ve hit, and cleared, the first major hurdle of this trip and want to thank the man responsible for helping me get over it. My little laptop died yesterday, a Sunday afternoon, and with my plane to Buka leaving at 8am this morning, I was stuck. Step forward Liam Fox, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s man in Papua New Guinea, who has proved himself a genuinely good guy and lent me his personal laptop. Liam, thanks mate. I am being very careful with it. My own sad little computer has joined the pile of other useless stuff (warm coat, sleeping bag) left behind in Port Moresby.