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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 Million by January

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide More

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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid