The Carteret Islands Now Have Some Of The World’s First Climate Change Refugees

carteret-islands

Sometimes I think people think climate change is a lie. It’s hard to tell the difference in the news these days now that science and facts have become opinions.

So the idea of climate change becomes harmless because it isn’t real anyway, but the effects are very real. It becomes very real when you lose your home.

Rising sea levels in the South Pacific have led to the evacuation of a whole island community.


The evacuation of the Carteret Islands due to rising sea levels. Reporting done by Journalist Dan Box for Royal Geographical Society and the BBC

Huni island, which has now split in to two islands due to constant sea erosion.
Huni island, which has now split in to two islands due to constant sea erosion.


The inhabitants of the Carteret Islands, Papua New Guinea, are moving to higher ground on the island of Bougainville. These people are some of the latest to be what are called “climate change refugees”.

The evacuation has already started. The men of the first 5 families have already left to make preparations for their families elsewhere.

I think a lot of people shrug this off when animals lose their homes due to climate change. It is likely more people pay attention when people lose their homes due to climate change. But these people losing their homes are brown and I wonder if we have to wait until more white people lose their homes due to climate change for more of us to care, and that includes Black people.

carteret-islands2

Sadly, the Carteret Islands and the rest of Papua New Guinea is not known for their highly industrialized ways that pollute the environment. For the most part the people have a very close relationship to the land and live in a way we might call primitive.

carteret-islands-beach

So essentially you have “third world people” paying dearly for the actions and inaction of the people in the “first world”. People who have a very close relationship to the land are paying a very high price for people who don’t have nearly as much of a relationship to the land at all.

For more Carteret Islands pics from Toby Parkinson click on podfruits.com.au

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