Posted by: islandsfirst | May 22, 2008

Running Out of Room

The spot on the coastline where preacher Jovilis Ceva is standing used to be a kitchen.

Islands First friend Carolyn Barnwell spoke with Mr. Ceva during a trip to Fiji’s Yadua Island last year:

Oh yes, I heard about global warming on the radio. The house my neighbor is working on building right now is for a family who is in danger of flooding on the coastline. Our village is running out of room.

Yadua’s natural splendor serves as a sanctuary for the endangered Fijian Crested Iguana, but life for its fewer than 200 inhabitants is being complicated by the sea advancing on Denimanu, its one village. As Josaia Sukaloa explained:

I am head of the village so I worry about rising sea level. I put it in the village meeting and province. The government knows we need to protect our coastline… but in the future, we’ll probably have to move the other side of the village.

Villagers have erected a wall to try and prevent erosion, but it hasn’t been successful in deterring the oceanic advance.

Of course, Yadua isn’t the only Fijian island threatened by the consequences of climate change. Al Jazeera brought the plight of Kabara islanders to the world’s attention last year, and the WWF has highlighted that story as well as one from Togoru village.

As flooding becomes more common in Fiji, national attention has been drawn to mitigating its effects. A story from NPR last year highlighted the utility of mangrove forest conservation in such efforts. Extreme flooding in Korotasere prompted locals to enlist the support of international NGOs and the University of the South Pacific to create a nursery for mangrove seedlings, which Carolyn photographed.

As necessary as they may be, however, such local efforts are not enough to turn back the tide of global warming.

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Responses

  1. great post and nice photos! i wish the public could rally around humans as easily as they do polar bears.


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