Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tinputz Community Climate Change Action Day, Bougainville, PNG

Greetings Olgeta (all of you in local pidgin)...

a beautiful dawned here in Tinputz Community ..the centre of the regions Climate Action Day in partnership on 24'th October 2009. The actions started with planting of mangroves..the traditional barriers to storm surges and protection from tsunamis...and a very important breeding habitat for local fish.

From there we proceeded to Marau Village, the centre for the relocation settlement for the climate change refugees from the Carteret’s Island. Here we planted taro, kasava, banana and other garden crops, focusing on sustainable local food security and sustainable village life.

It is truly a privilege to be present here and watching in action, the resettlement of communities whose islands have been destroyed by rising sea levels and how they are going about the difficult and painful process of leaving their homes and building afresh far away from centuries of ancestry and culture.

It is humbling and empowering to see the sense of community and how people are rebuilding their lives with grace and dignity...yet their fate has been changed by the indiscriminate actions of others in places far removed and unknown....

We returned to Tinputz Community for the Church Service...and the ringing of the Gong, 350 times to bring awareness of the importance of understanding climate change. This was followed by the main event that included most of the children, 350 of them, in forming firstly a map of Bougainville, then moving into the numbers 350...and then, well choreographed, their arms depicting a ticking clock towards Copenhagen and the need urgent change.

Ursula Rakova, event organiser and director of Tulele Peisa then addressed both the children and the larger community about the significance and importance of the number 350 in relation to climate change. From there, lunch and live bands and traditional dances, to continue to welcome the Carterets Islanders into the Tinputz and build and strengthen the community spirit to support the tuff transition facing the world’s first climate change refugees.

All and all a fantastic change, practical, ...celebration...and the building of a new community.

Thank you to Ursula and the Tinputz community for allowing us to witness such a beautiful and profound event.