Sinking cultures the forgotten victims of climate change

Sinking cultures the forgotten victims of climate change

Simon Molesworth, Chairman, International National Trusts Organisation (INTO)

The Pacific Islands are frequently labelled as the ‘front line’ of climate change’, due to their vulnerability to rising sea levels and storms exacerbated by increasing levels of moisture in the sir.

The heads of state in Tuvalu and Kiribati are already contemplating evacuating their islands in the future. While the economic costs of this have been debated widely, the social and cultural impacts are not as well known.

“When those people move to the outskirts of another city in another country such as Auckland in New Zealand or Brisbane in Australia, which are two frequently mentioned end points for people in those nations, how do you sustain the very things that are of value to those people?”, Molesworth says.

“Their connectivity to their islands is expressed in song and dance, and the storylines are passed from generation to generation. Their sense of place is pegged to their island in the Pacific, but it’s also pegged to that cultural continuity by way of story and culture.

“You move them to Brisbane or Auckland and the number one duty having saved them physically by moving them is how do you retain those things that are of value to them in their future lives?”