News / USA

    Sinking Island Highlights Effects of Climate Change

    Documentaries explore lives in a warmer world

    This man ponders his fate as he looks out to Huene, an island in the Carteret bisected by the sea 20 years ago.
    This man ponders his fate as he looks out to Huene, an island in the Carteret bisected by the sea 20 years ago.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Rosanne Skirble

    Our planet is warming.

    Average global temperatures have climbed about one degree Celsius since the last century, and at an accelerated rate in recent decades.

    And scientists believe the global warming trend is responsible for an increased severity of droughts, floods, and storms across the globe, and slowly rising ocean levels.

    The serious consequences of earth's changing climate are the subject of three new documentary films, funded in part by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

    Elders among the Carteret, pictured here at a relocation meeting on Piul Island, hold memories of happier days but now must seek shelter elsewhere.
    Elders among the Carteret, pictured here at a relocation meeting on Piul Island, hold memories of happier days but now must seek shelter elsewhere.

    Sinking island

    "Sun Come Up" is the story of the Carteret Islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea, where filmmaker Jennifer Redfearn says Islanders have had no choice but to move to higher ground.

    "We documented some of the destruction that is happening from rising sea levels, more frequent storm surges, from the lack of fresh water sources and how the sea has contaminated some of their gardening land."

    Ursula Rakova grew up on the islands. "In those times the sea wasn't as cruel as it is today, she says. By 2015 her homeland is expected to be under water." She now heads the relocation effort for 3,000 people.

    Among them is Carteret elder John Sailik who laments the fate of the island chain. "When I was a little boy my very special thing was fishing with my spear on the wave. I'll be losing the wave and losing this happiness of the island. I'll be missing the sound of waves at night and I'll be listening to it no more."

    "Sun Come Up" debuted at the 2010 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina. Redfearn says the Carteret islanders are among the world's first climate refugees.

    The International Organization for Migration predicts the number of people displaced by rising ocean levels will grow to 200 million by 2050.

    Redfearn hopes her film helps raise awareness to reverse that trend. "I want [it] to move people. I want [it] to either make them angry, make them sad, make them frustrated, and I want to take that anger and that frustration and that sadness and turn that into action."

    First victims of climate change

    "Water Wars" was produced by the Seattle-based Common Language Project.

    Springs are drying out from the drought in Southern Ethiopia forcing pastoralists to push their cattle long distances for scarce resources.
    Springs are drying out from the drought in Southern Ethiopia forcing pastoralists to push their cattle long distances for scarce resources.

    The film takes a closer look at water scarcity in Southern Ethiopia and the drought that has left farms there without any irrigation supply. Herders are forced to shepherd their animals longer distances for water.

    Neighbors compete for the same scarce resource, says Jon Sawyer, director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the group that brought "Water Wars" to the 2010 Environmental Film Festival in Washington.

    "[We're] really looking at how pastoralists are among the first victims of global climate change, and what that's doing to their way of life and the possibility of conflict as a result," he says.

    "Water Wars" joins the pastoralists in a stark landscape of dead grasses, arid plants and dust. Experts predict droughts will get worse with climate change, and that poor countries like Ethiopia will be hardest hit.

    Solar-powered school boats

    The third film, "Easy Like Water" documents the water crisis in Bangladesh.

    The small South Asian nation of 150 million people on the coast of the Bay of Bengal has been facing increasingly intense floods and storms.

    Filmmaker Glenn Baker envisions entire communities that will one day have to float as they adapt to climate change.
    Filmmaker Glenn Baker envisions entire communities that will one day have to float as they adapt to climate change.

    We learn about this growing crisis from architect Mohammed Rezwan, who has built a fleet of solar-powered, internet-connected school boats."I believe that if children cannot come to school then the school should go to them."

    Flooded roads can shut down schools up to four months a year.

    Filmmaker Glenn Baker says the solar-powered boats help bridge the education gap and also meet other community needs. "It's not only floating schools that he's making a difference with. He has floating libraries, floating clinics, floating climate shelters, floating gardens.

    He envisions entire communities that will have to float. "Now, I'm not saying that this is the only answer to climate change, but it is people taking one adaptive strategy, doing what they have to do to survive," says Baker.

    All three documentaries - "Easy Like Water," "Water Wars" and "Sun Come Up" - were supported in part by The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Center director Jon Sawyer hopes they will stir greater public activism on climate change and water issues.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Diplomats Hope to Revive Cradle of Civilization After Defeat of IS

    Diplomats from around globe gather at US State Department, discuss how to rebuild minority communities shattered by Islamic State group

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100% Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100% Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora