Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Talking and (silly) walking

I gave the Monday Night Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society about the Carterets journey this week (would have blogged earlier, but have been laid up with flu). It was a real privilege, it was good fun and a great way to end the year on a project that, to my suprise, has come to dominate the year.

A whole bunch of friends and family came down to watch, as well as the entire class six of Clearwell Primary School – one of the schools that I visited before and after I went to the islands, and who followed the journey live on this blog. The Society president, Michael Palin, hosted the night and seemed pretty happy with how it went. He also got me very drunk on port at the dinner afterwards. Despite all this dutch courage, however, I never had the guts to ask him to show me his silly walk…

On the road again

I’ve been asked to go on tour by the Royal Geographical Society, talking about the Carterets trip as part of their regional lecture series next year. I’ll post more details when I get them but, until then, these are the dates I have so far:

February 25, 2010. Stamford Arts Centre, Lincolnshire.

March 30, 2010. Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon.

May 6, 2010. The Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton.


World Service

A version of the Journey of a Lifetime doco has been broadcast on the BBC World Service. I missed it (though with any luck some of the those I met in Papua New Guinea did not), but you can catch it here.

Sounds of the islands

I’ve gone through the recordings I made while living on the Carterets islands and picked out a few to listen to here. They say the pictures are better on radio, and I agree:

In church, on Sunday morning

Walking through the food gardens with John Sailik and Ruth Marcella

A school assembly

Talking to Selina Bill

A procession to celebrate the Virgin Mary

Walking into the sea

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Big in Shrewsbury

This is it, the big time. I’ve been interviewed by BBC Radio Shropshire about the Carterets and the broadcast is going out tonight. All of you within the county borders and in search of a little entertainment this evening, expect it anytime before six pm tonight.

Seriously, it’s a privilege to be able to talk about the Carterets to any and every audience. The first of the two talks I’m giving to the Royal Geographical Society went well this week – or at least they haven’t said I can’t come back to give the second one. I was also asked to speak at the Shropshire Wildlife Trust AGM last night.

Also, great news, a version of the Journey of a Lifetime doco for BBC Radio 4 has been edited down for broadcast on the World Service. Not only an honour but a chance for those people out in Papua New Guinea to hear it. No broadcast date as yet, but watch this space…

An argument

I’m pulling together a talk I’m due to give to the Royal Geographical Society about the Carterets journey. I’m speaking twice, firstly to the Society’s City branch on October 6 and secondly at the RGS itself, on December 14.
It’s proven to be a good opportunity to finally tie together some of the loose ideas I’ve been thinking about since before I left for the islands in April. At the time, I remember thinking there was something there, but couldn’t quite form it as a finished idea in my mind.
My basic thinking goes link this (I hope to come back with more scientific data to back all this up):

This year is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. He was born in Shrewsbury, where I live. I even went to the birthday party held for him in town, where lots of people got dressed up in old-fashioned clothes and ate cake.

It is also the 300th anniversary of the first use of coke (a form of coal) to smelt iron. The site of this discovery, now called Ironbridge is described as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. I grew up in Ironbridge.

Ironbridge and Shrewsbury are just 12 miles apart. I cycle or drive that road constantly. Before I left for the Carterets, I couldn’t shake the feeling there was something that linked Darwin, Ironbridge and the islands, but I couldn’t work out what it was.

Now, I think it is this:

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“Dan risked life and limb…”

Is Dan vain enough to put the reviews for his radio programme up on this blog?

Yes he is…

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