Posted by: islandsfirst | February 24, 2009

Press Roundup Feb ’09

  • Reuters: Taiwan Offers Hand to Sinking South Pacific Island
  • Washington Post: Climate Fears Are Driving ‘Ecomigration’ Across Globe


  • The Jakarta Post: Outlying Islands May Disappear
  • ScienceNews: First Wave: The Presidents of two island nations draft escape plans, anticipating sea level rise


  • Fox News: Expert: Climate Change Could Mean ‘Extended World War’
  • Guardian: Climate Change Timetable Slips As Obama Backtracks on 2008 Deadline


Posted by: islandsfirst | February 11, 2009

Brace for the Worst

Joining the ranks of the Maldives, Bloomberg reports that Kiribati President Anote Tong is considering the purchase of land to relocate the nation’s 100,000 citizens threatened by climate change. Well before the 33-island archipelago sinks under rising seas, the salination of food crops and drinking water by higher tides will render the islands uninhabitable.

Until the global economic crisis, we were hopeful that we can penetrate the labor market in different countries. We are looking at a solution that allows our people to live with dignity and not as second-class citizens.

Visit Islands Business for Samisoni Pareti’s overview of how Small Island States are faring in international climate change negotiations.

Posted by: islandsfirst | February 3, 2009

We Have An Answer

Gristmill’s “notable quotable” from last night augured well:

“On Monday [Jan. 26], in the middle of all that was going on with the economy … the president was forceful that EPA should do an event on climate change on my first day in office … We have an answer for people who want to scare us from backing off of strong environmental protections.”

— EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, speaking at an environmental justice conference at Fordham Law School on Jan. 30

Meanwhile, most people may be unaware of the threat posed by ocean acidification, but not Monaco’s Prince Albert II. With his support, marine scientists from around the world have published their collective concern in the Monaco Declaration, as reported at the BBC and elsewhere. Islands First favorite James Hrynyshyn has the run-down at his Island of Doubt blog.


Other interesting ocean studies in the news include one on the climate footprint of hurricanes and another on the role of water in climate change. And for those here in New York City, we live on islands too. Stop by Switchboard at NRDC to find out what ocean health means to the Empire State.

And the islands? Some are too wet, some too dry, and the Sunday Times has the latest from the Maldives. Check them out.

Posted by: islandsfirst | January 27, 2009

Climate Change and Security

If you’re in New York City, register here for a little lunchtime discussion on Thursday. NYU’s “Conflict Security and Development Series” will feature H. E. Stuart Beck, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN (Palau) and Islands First Board Chair. The event will take place at 12:30 at the Puck Building on Lafayette south of Houston.

Climate change is adversely affecting sustainable development, human rights, national sovereignty and security. While sustainable development and human rights are being addressed in their respective fora at the United Nations and beyond, the security implications of climate change have yet to be given proper consideration. The failure to consider fully the interlinkages between climate change and security is a critical gap in current international negotiations and debates. Ambassador Beck will discuss ways in which climate change is undermining the security of small island states and the United Nations’ initiatives to address these problems.


Posted by: islandsfirst | January 20, 2009


Islands First celebrates the inauguration of the first islander to be elected President of the United States of America.


He has his work cut out for him. Coverage of reef fish devastation in the New York Times yesterday is one testament of many as to the challenges that lie ahead.


Posted by: islandsfirst | January 19, 2009


The effect of saltwater inundation on crops is a major focus in ongoing relief efforts across the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. An emergency was declared in both nations on Christmas Eve after several low-laying areas were devastated by high waves on repeated occasions. According to this report from Agence France Presse, the United States is considering aid provision while inspectors from its Federal Emergency Management Agency (of Hurricane Katrina fame) assess the situation in the Pacific.

Another US federal agency, meanwhile, has released a report discussing the impact of sea level rise on coastal communities. According to a press release from the Environmental Protection Agency, the report “examines multiple opportunities for governments and coastal communities to plan for and adapt to rising sea levels.” Here’s to the hope, on the eve of an historic American presidential inauguration, that opportunities will not only be examined, but seized.

Posted by: islandsfirst | January 12, 2009

Roundup for the New Year

The outlook:

On the islands:

Off the islands:

On the mainland:

Posted by: islandsfirst | December 17, 2008

Illegal Occupation

No, not in the Middle East. In Washington, D.C.


During the upcoming Power Shift 2009, activists are planning “the largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in US history” by illegally occupying the Capitol Power Plant, pictured above.

For a discussion of the need for civil disobedience, be sure to visit No Impact Man‘s site. Why Washington? Read Islands Firster Nicholas Arons at The Huffington Post.

And if you still don’t understand how this is a question of survival for small island nations, look no further than SustainUS‘s David Sievers over at Grist. Thanks, David.

Posted by: islandsfirst | December 16, 2008

Islands to Obama

Islands First’s Nicholas Arons and Dr. Marah Hardt of the Blue Ocean Institute in the Huffington Post on One Way President Obama Can Lead on Climate Change:

President-elect Obama faces enormous challenges, but at least he doesn’t have to worry about his country disappearing. The newly elected President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, is not so lucky. His country sits three feet above sea level; scientific models estimate sea level rise by up to 6.5 feet this century. So, he, too, is struggling to raise finances — not to bail out giant auto companies — but to support relocation of his citizens as their islands slowly slip beneath the sea.

At climate talks in Poland yesterday, Amjad Abdulla, director general of the Ministry of Environment in the Maldives, expressed his disappointment: “We are drowning, and there is this huge gap in commitment.”

But there may be reason to have hope. Taking matters into their own hands, the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) submitted an historic draft resolution to the United Nations General Assembly, to be voted on next week. Directed at the Security Council, it is a call for international leadership to fight the biggest foreign threat to their countries’ security, peace, and continued existence: climate change.

Many people still consider climate change as a “liberal, environmental issue,” rather than a real cause for concern like terrorism or a weakened economy. But, for citizens of these pacific island nations, climate change threatens human and national rights that we, the United States of America, purportedly pioneered. Reframing climate change in terms of national security is no stretch of the imagination. Remember, slavery was once debated as an economic issue before society evolved enough to recognize it as question of basic human rights. The radical thoughts of one generation often become the accepted moral guidelines of the next.

The US was founded upon the right to defend our sovereignty and we have long been an ally to countries that fight to defend their people, land and resources. President-elect Obama states he can restore America’s image as a beacon of hope on the international stage and we desperately need him to do so. What better way than to shepherd through this draft resolution, representing hundreds of thousands of people who refuse to remain invisible? The President-elect and members of Congress must provide strong leadership, calling on the current administration to take action. One small vote by the United States, one giant message to the world: we still care, we can help, we will lead.

Posted by: islandsfirst | December 12, 2008


Youth action in Poznan after a rousing speech by Al Gore:


Elsewhere in the news, an example of the problem at hand in Papua New Guinea, the oceans’ shifting balance on the New York Times’ editorial page, and don’t forget to sign the petition at

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