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Thread: The world's first climate change refugees to leave island due to rising sea levels

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default The world's first climate change refugees to leave island due to rising sea levels

    Within a few weeks a boat filled with wide-eyed children and tearful adults will pull out from a Pacific lagoon to escape the slow death of their island home.


    The group will become the world's first refugees from the effects of global warming, leaving behind a tiny speck of land that is being slowly swallowed by the rising ocean.
    Ironically, the Carteret Islanders have made what is possibly the smallest carbon footprint on the planet, yet they are the first to suffer the devastating effects of a wider, polluted world they know nothing about. Scroll down for more...
    Rising tide: To escape the floods inhabitants of Carteret Atoll are preparing to leave



    Such is the effect of rising seas that tidal surges have cut one of the small islands in the Carteret group - 1,000 miles north east of Australia- in half, the salt water slicing through the low centre.
    "We have struggled for more than 20 years to keep the sea back from our villages," says Mr Bernard Tunim from Piul, one of the islands in the group.
    "We've built sea walls, planted mangrove trees along the shore, but the storm surges and high tides just come in and wash everything away.
    "We've lost our simple houses, our vegetable gardens have been destroyed and our fresh water supplies in the ground have been contaminated.
    "For drinking all we can rely on now is rainwater and coconut juice, but even the coconut trees are dying. You can walk along the beach and see just the bottoms of dead trees sticking up through the sand." Scroll down for more...
    Isolated paradise: Carteret, east of Papua New Guinea is 53 miles from the nearest shops



    The Carteret Islands, part of Papua New Guinea, were discovered in 1767 by British naval captain Philip Carteret, a contemporary of Captain Cook, who sailed past them in his sloop Swallow, without even bothering to step ashore.
    Pacific islands in those days were inhabited by fierce cannibals, although there is no history of man eating man in the Carterets, made up of the protruding rims of an undersea prehistoric volcano. Today a little more than 1,500 people live in the islands which, from space, look like the beads of a necklace lying on a turquoise background.
    Approaching them by sea, the islands appear to be everyone's imagination of a lost paradise, an idyllic dot in Melanesia where there are no cars, no electricity, no tv, no phones no contact at all with the outside world except a cargo ship from the "mainland", Bougainville, which brings supplies of rice and tinned foods.
    But on landing on any of the islands the devastation brought about by global warming is obvious and the exotic playground image is lost.
    The roots and branches of trees destroyed by the encroaching salt water have become a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes and unripened coconuts that have fallen from trees unable to hold them litter the swampy paths from the beach. Scroll down for more...
    Preparations: The islanders are chopping trees down to build flood defences



    The fruit trees that carried mango, banana, breadfruit and paw-paw are all dead from the sea water that has killed their roots and the children survive on a diet of just coconuts and fish. The roots of their black hair turn yellow, signifying malnutrition.
    Grass-roofed huts have been washed away by the tidal surges and families have been forced to move further inland to higher ground, away from the beaches where, in decades past, fishing nets were hung out to dry from waterside homes.
    "No-one trusts the sea any more," says Mr Tunim. "If there is a tidal surge, it sweeps in and swallows things up. You don't want it to happen to a child, so we have all moved further back.
    "We are sad that we are all going to have to leave. The first ones, we hope, will be going soon to Bougainvilleand in no time at all there will be no-one left here.
    "All those big countries like Americaand Russiaand in Europeare making all the pollution and we are the ones who are suffering for it, yet we don't even have a bicycle on the islands.
    "Where is the sense in all this?" Arranging the evacuation of the islanders to a world they have never known, even if it is in the still-relatively remote northern region of Bougainville island, 53 miles away, is a major worry for a former Carteret islander, Ursula Rakova, who now works for an aid charity
    "If I had a miracle to perform, I wouldn't bring my people here," she said on Bougainville. "They will need to adapt. It is not going to be easy. But what choice do they have?
    "It is not just us, though. It is going to happen to others right through the Pacific and in other parts of the world. The pollution has to stop. "The big nations have to do something very, very urgently. We aren't imagining any of this."

    The world's first climate change refugees to leave island due to rising sea levels | the Daily Mail

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    A*O
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    This is the reality of climate change. It's not just cute polar bears and penguins who suffer. The island of Nauru is about to sink too. Personally, I am not totally convinced that global warming is a 'new' phenomenon - I think these things happen due to natural, longterm cycles and we are currently moving into a 'warm' phase that will no doubt be followed by another ice age in a couple of of hundred years time. But that isn't much comfort to people whose homes and livelihoods are being destroyed by rising sea levels. But that doesn't mean we can't help Mother Earth by using fewer resources and generally taking care of the planet.
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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    And so it begins.

    Damn, it's too early in the morning to contemplate how much our planet is truly and utterly screwed.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    ice ages don't come and go in 2 hundred years... they happen over thousands. What we're doing is spedding the process up by about 200 times.
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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    It is not the first climate change refugees. I watched a special on Discovery channel at least a year ago where a small island off the Alaskan has to move the entire community because their island is built on permafrost and its falling off in huge chunks.
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    Elite Member sparkly's Avatar
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    ^That's what I thought. Still, this is horrendous and sad. It could be any one of us in just a matter of time.

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    We are actually a little overdue for an ice age..maybe we will luck out and the ice age will start while the human-activity-induced global warming is going on, and will cancel eachother out resulting in the world having a perfect and benign climate? *adjusts rose-colored glasses*
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    Eli
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    Awww, those poor, unimportant people.

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allie View Post
    Awww, those poor, unimportant people.
    quote.."^^ Wow, that was SO worth the effort wasn't it'

    hmmm..now where did I see that and who happened to post that???
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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