Papua New Guinea: The Ocean Is Coming

sea riseHuman caused global heating is profoundly a matter of justice and equity (and of course survival). The Chicago Tribune reports on rising seas inundating the island of Malasiga in Papua New Guinea (a country near and dear to my heart as I lived there for many years). Despite there not being a “power line or factory or air conditioner within a day's walk of this village of 400 people” this and other PNG islands and coastal lands are being swamped as salt water inundates villages and farms. It is the poor and/or indigenous peoples by necessity living more closely with nature – including the more publicized plight of Tuvalu's [search] battle with rising seas – that will suffer most from the fossil fuel intensive consumptive and polluting lifestyles of the overdeveloped rich countries. Many are making the case that displaced residents of New Orleans are the first modern large scale climate change refugees [more].


The disingenuous, even evil, position of the United States' refusal to set mandatory caps on its carbon emission is a mockery when 15 percent of the world's population living in high-income countries releases more than 75% of global greenhouse gases (4% in the U.S. emitting 25%). Comfortable and complacent American's will not stop driving SUVs and living in sprawling McMansions so a peasant in Bangladesh (who emits 5% of what an average American does) can have a chance to meet their basic needs before also eventually limiting their emissions. This is outrageous. It is reasonable that the rich cut emissions before the poor as Kyoto set out. It is called equity and justice, something that few American policy-makers grasp in a greedy society that has institutionalized the pursuit of ever greater and more wasteful consumption as a way of life.
This said, emerging economies such as China has reached the point where they deservedly require mandatory emission caps as well. And speaking frankly, Papua New Guinea shares some responsibility for their plight as unregulated and illegal logging of ancient rainforests by Malaysian “robber baron” loggers is the sort of land conversion that is second only to fossil fuel use in carbon release into the atmosphere. What is clear is that while President Bush continues to refer to uncertainties regarding whether global heating is natural or human caused, the crisis has commenced and climate change refugees are a fact of life.
No one is safe and secure from extreme weather exacerbated or caused by climate change. In a just, equitable international system; the rich would pay first and more in terms of carbon caps and carbon taxes for past emissions and would lead the way towards de-carbonizing the global economy. There is no hope for the human race unless both the U.S. and China aggressively do so soon. Time is short and we must move past gimmicks like hybrid cars and compact fluorescent light bulbs that while important and valid, are nonetheless inadequate to address core underlying causes of Gaia's, the Earth systems', demise. Human population must be cut, all remaining natural habitats protected and restored, and consumption reduced by the rich for the benefit of the poor.
Can these measures adequate to save the Earth be achieved through the system or are we talking about a revolution?

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8 Responses

  1. Bob Siemion says:

    When all the tree`s are gone, and all the waters are polluted, and we can`t breath, then you will all find out that you can`t live off of your MONEY. STOP KILLING THIS PLANET

  2. Marcel Sommer says:

    Earth's overpopulated'common' inhabitants are so human-centered and have drifted so far away from Nature in the “struggle” to survive. Ofcourse struggle and not live in harmony with nature.Kill it, destroy it.
    This is the the harsh way we are indoctrinated in from the first going to school on: everything should be conquered,analysed to pieces, fought for,explored,dominated.Competition,Reward.etc. The Chinese are a bit more clever than the conservative Americans.So if there is hope it could come from the Chinese.The more educated ones also are aware of the heat when unleashing the Dragon.
    But it seems we realy need a revolution in thought on a very extensive scale to turn the tide.At last ofcourse EVERYWHERE on earth and not only on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.
    So please I hope our heavenly father also will choose for puhsing buttons,being affected by our own nventions.
    And this time the button of awakening from the poisonous dream we live in.

  3. Lorraine Boston says:

    You've definately got my support on all the 10 so obvious to people like ourselves commandments should I say. Like all good Mothers they can only take so much before before they snap. I pray daily that we can RIGHT the WRONGS before Mother Earth crys

  4. Melissa Medina says:

    Please stop this pollution of the planet.Let the things be the way that they were before.Help maintain this planet safe.

  5. Tiiu says:

    Can anyone – preferably President Bush himself – tell me why it matters
    whether the warming we have seen to date is caused by natural forces or
    human activity. The evidence that it is human activity is of course very
    strong, but suppose it was natural forces, that does not negate the
    scientifically proven fact that humans activity does produce CO2 and that
    CO2 can cause global warming. So if President Bush thinks that the warming that has occurred so far is due to natural forces to continue CO2 emissions is putting a fire out by pouring petrol on it.
    All the best,
    Tiiu

  6. kevin says:

    I will like to frst of give thank to the crew that product this site;My comment to the body is to tell each and everyone to not let mother earth cry the tear of glober warming it's not too late for that, we can put stop to that now if we want to.

  7. Ashley says:

    well, what can I say? We should reduce the usage of car's and facteries should reduce the way they use smoke. Because of our wrong actions we have to face the consequencs. If we want to stop the sea level from rising than we will have to stop using to much things whicch is polluting the air and causing the climate to change.

  8. Jack.Epei says:

    its very frightening. what will happen if our little islands are drawned? we already have land shortages in Papua New Guinea and this sea level increase is another salt on the sore. please keep up the good work. God bles you.

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