Climate Refugees’ Plight in Oscar Spotlight | OnEarth Magazine

In the short documentary “Sun Come Up” that was produced in 2008 on the Carteret Islanders and now nominated for the Oscars, they are portrayed as a resilient people who are forced to navigate their future in the face of climate change.

Unknown to many people and the media was that a project was launched in the Carteret islands in May 2009 that brought much excitement to the people. The mission of the Carteret Islands Transformation project (previously called the LiveFish project) was to empower the islanders through the platform of work and management of their natural resource, fish.

In our engagement with the Carteret islanders, we have found them to be truly a resilient and graceful people. We also realized what this project meant to them. For the first time, they have in their hands the option of staying on in their islands instead of relocation to the mainland in Bougainville, a place and people unfamiliar to them. The project empowered them with a precious gift – choice.

Instead of raising homes in new places where they may or may not be welcomed, many would prefer to save their Home, the island they grew up in and lived all their lives. Housing is actually the simplest issue to address. Even if land is found for them, how do they make their livelihoods? How would they survive with no jobs or opportunities? There are also cultural and political ramifications.

To save their island is not a dream or hope but can be a reality, if the Carteret Transformation project succeeds. It is a bold aspiration but the Carteret Islanders are a courageous people who will do all they can, given the tools, to Raise their island home above the rising sea-levels.

We have met many such amazing islanders, amongst whom are people like Mama Moi and John Salik. They say they will fight to the end to save their island, even if it means they will be the last to leave. The Carteret Transformation project provides the islanders the resources they require to do so, something they previously did not have. If you would like to find out more on how you can help them save their island, contact us.

Climate Refugees’ Plight in Oscar Spotlight | OnEarth Magazine.


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