Friday, 15 May 2009

Global Warming causes the Carteret Islands to be abandoned.

I would have thought (hoped) that this story would have been headline news throughout the world, but the news agencies have, in the main, ignored it, so here it is anyway!

The Carteret Islands are part of Papua New Guinea located in the South Pacific being a scattering of low lying islands in a horseshoe shape with a total land area of 0.6 square kilometers and a maximum elevation of 1.5 meters above sea level. You see the problem, 1.5m above sea level.

Some say that the islands' sinking is caused by them being located on shifting tectonic plates, but Australia's National Tide Facility has measured an annual rise of 8.2 mm in sea level on the islands in every year they have monitored the situation. Within the space of a generation, the islands' shoreline has receded over 60 feet. During storm surges, salt water washes away homes, destroys vegetable gardens, and contaminates fresh water supplies and for a population of 2,000+, largely dependent on subsistence agriculture, the impact has been devastating. The image that looks as though it is two islands, is actually of one that is now being flooded as sea levels rise.

So 2,000+ people are, as I write, in the process of being relocated to other locations. How ironic that the Carteret Islanders, people with a carbon footprint among the lowest in the world, are now among the first to have to abandon their islands because of rising seas caused by emissions from other nations.

The photos are used with the kind permission of and I would 100% recommend, ask, plead, that you visit their site HERE and view the film trailer as it tells the story of the islanders in their own words on their vanishing homeland. It may take a few seconds to load but this is worth any wait. If there are problems in linking from this then the environmental resource contacts at the left hand side also has a link.

The only mainstream journal to have covered this story in depth is The Ecologist, and you can read their on-line report HERE.

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