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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid