Tag Archives: climate refugee

Portraits of Resilience | Christine Germane | TEDxRenfrewCollingwood

 

Portraits of Resilience | Christine Germane | TEDxRenfrewCollingwood

Published on Nov 26, 201 4 • This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Listen as photographer and educator Christine Germane tells the stories of Portraits of Resilience, a unique project that illustrates the ethical dimension of the climate change discussion through documenting and sharing the personal stories of indigenous youth. Since 2000, Christine Germane has been collaborating with Indigenous communities as a photographer, educator and curator. The international photojournalism project titled Portraits of Resilience has allowed her to work with indigenous youth to illustrate the personal and ethical effects of climate change on their communities. Since its creation in 2008, the project has occurred in 12 countries and has been exhibited internationally, including the launch at the National Museum of Denmark. With a range of education, awards, and project coordination experience within art and design under her belt, Christine’s exceptional work has provided youth with a medium to share their voice during a crucial period of time.

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Filed under sea level rise, SIDS

I’m fighting to keep my home above water

My name is Milañ Loeak, I’m from the Marshall Islands, and I bring you a message on behalf of my Climate Warrior brothers and sisters from across Oceania.

You’ve probably heard it all before — that the climate is changing, that the ocean is rising, that my home in the islands will be the first to go. But the people of the Pacific are not drowning, we are fighting. And the biggest threat to our homes is the fossil fuel industry.

So here’s how we’re fighting back: there’s a coal port in Newcastle, Australia and it’s the largest in the world, shipping approximately 617,000 tons of coal every single day. If the port were a country, it would be the 9th highest emitting country in the world. That’s why I have travelled to Australia to shut it down for a day.

Using traditional canoes, I and 30 other Pacific Climate Warriors are going to paddle into the oncoming path of coal ships. Behind us will be hundreds of Australians in kayaks, on surfboards and whatever else they can find, united with us as we stand up to the fossil fuel industry.

But we need more than hundreds of Australians standing with us — we are going to need you too.

The fossil fuel industry will try to dismiss us. They will launch their PR machine to say that we are just a small group acting alone and that we do not speak for others. But we know that we are not acting alone. We are standing with front line communities around the world when we say it is time to end our addiction to fossil fuels before it destroys our homes, our communities, and our culture.

As the Pacific Climate Warriors paddle into the water on October 17th, show that you stand with us — click here to sign on to our call for solidarity.

Stopping one day of coal exports alone won’t keep our homes above water, but it marks the rise of the Pacific Climate Warriors, and the beginning of our defense of the Pacific Islands.

I ask you to join us in this fight — because we cannot save the Pacific Islands on our own.

Warm Pacific wishes,

Milañ Loeak, Republic of the Marshall Islands


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Filed under sea level rise

‘Bermuda should be the model for clean energy for the world’

Leading US conservationist Larry Schweiger, president of Virginia-based National Wildlife Federation visited Bermuda as a special guest speaker at the Bermuda Environmental Alliance’s ‘Latin Night for Planet Earth’ gala last Friday.

Mr Schweiger spoke about climate change and the impact it is likely to have on low-lying land and islands, such as Bermuda, and pointed to ways that the Island can be a ‘clean energy’ model for the world.

Here is a shortened version of Mr Schweiger’s speech:

We need to look north to see our future.

The Arctic is warming faster than any other place on earth. It has warmed more than twice as fast as the global average in the past fifty years. The Arctic has lost 20 percent more summer ice in 2012 than it did in the record-setting year 2007. We could see the complete loss of summer ice by the end of this decade. Dark open water or barren ice-free Arctic lands increase the amount of solar radiation absorbed and further speed the melting process.

Nearly the size of continental United States, Arctic ice is vital for temperature regulation in the Arctic region as it bounces about 90 percent of the sun’s energy as albedo. Open water absorbs 80 percent of the energy thus changing a giant reflector into a massive energy absorbing system. As the Arctic region warms, it thaws the nearby tundra and releases carbon dioxide and methane.

Open water is an important threat because it will heat deep Arctic waters that release methane and spawn the decay of nearby Arctic tundra that has the potential to triple the carbon in the sky through rapid decomposition of the organic matter. As permafrost soils decompose they release massive amounts CO2. Warm Arctic waters and warming thermokarst lakes and ponds also releases large quantities of extremely potent greenhouse-gas methane that further accelerate climate change, as methane is a potent greenhouse gas.

As the Arctic warms, Greenland warms and becomes the source of enormous amounts of runoff. It is an island covered by two-mile thick ice that is being impacted by Arctic warming. During 2011, Greenland dumped 100 billion tons of ice and water into the ocean. In 2007 the worst year on record, about 40 percent of the Greenland surface was experiencing melt. This past summer about 97 percent of the island was experiencing melt. The total volume of water released in 2012 is not yet available but it’s increasingly clear that the Greenland ice sheet may soon pass a point of no return as the Arctic ice disappears.

What happens in Greenland will not stay in Greenland. Added to the expansion-driven sea-level rise caused by warming waters, sea level rise from melting glaciers and Greenland is a rapidly approaching reality for islands, coastal communities and mega-delta regions of the world. Worldwide, a one-metre rise in sea level will displace 100 million people.

Warming ocean waters also produce more atmospheric moisture and breed fewer but bigger hurricanes. Powerful climatological shifts caused by an overheated Arctic will have unpredictable but certainly far-reaching consequences to Bermuda and other low-lying regions of the world.

We are already experiencing strong signals that climate change is happening now. Forest fires happen four times as often in the US and burn six times more acres. Massive droughts have been affecting critically important agricultural lands. Mega storms worldwide are increasing damages by about one percent per year. All these climate-driven trends added together signal a challenging future for us all.

Since the island of Bermuda is experiencing sea-level rise three times the world average rates and since it is in the path of hurricanes that are expected to become stronger and stronger, Bermuda should be the model for clean energy for the world. Working together we can decarbonise our energy supplies and avoid the worst.

This is doable. Since electric energy production in Bermuda is primarily produced by expensive imported oil, I believe Bermuda can create an efficient, clean energy path at equal or less cost than consumers are currently paying for electricity. Solar panel prices for example, have declined by 50 percent last year and LED lights and other efficiency measures can dramatically cut energy demand and save money.

We need to have unprecedented international cooperation to move away from carbon emitting fossil fuels to advanced efficiency measures and spawn serious investments in clean energy sources such as solar, wind, wave and current energy. More

 

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Filed under energy, energy security

Better protection for persons displaced by natural disasters

Better protection for persons displaced by natural disasters

Bern, 02.10.2012 – Norway and Switzerland intend to set up an international agenda for the protection of persons forced to leave their country as a consequence of natural disasters. The Nansen Initiative was launched in Geneva on 2 October 2012 in the presence of Steffen Kongstad, Norway's Ambassador to the UN, and Manuel Bessler, the Federal Council delegate for humanitarian aid. The initiative aims to address the need for normative and institutional measures to protect those affected.

The ceremony in the Palais des Nations to launch the Nansen Initiative, which is named after the polar explorer and first High Commissioner for Refugees Fridtjof Nansen, was attended by numerous representatives of states, NGOs and the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Manuel Bessler, the Federal Council delegate for humanitarian aid, representing Switzerland, said in his address: “During my deployments in affected regions such as the Horn of Africa I found that cross-border movements caused by natural disasters are a real problem that has increased in importance in recent years.

It has been proven that there is a need for measures to protect persons displaced by natural disasters. Every year millions of people have to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere because of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and other natural disasters. Many of these find shelter in their own country but others have to cross national borders. Movements such as these are likely to increase as a result of global warming. National and international measures to protect the persons affected are either non-existent or inadequate.

While displaced persons are protected in their own country by the UN guidelines on internal displacement and by regional instruments, there is a gap in legislation governing cross-border movements caused by natural disasters. Usually such persons are not victims of persecution and are therefore not protected under the UN Convention on Refugees. Moreover, the Human Rights Conventions do not govern key aspects such as the right to enter a country, settlement and the basic rights of those affected. There is also a lack of criteria to distinguish between cross-border movements caused by natural disasters and voluntary migration.

An inter-state process is required in order to close these gaps. At the UNHCR Ministerial Meeting held in Geneva in December 2011, Norway and Switzerland pledged to cooperate with interested countries to formulate solutions to protect persons displaced externally due to natural disasters. This pledge was welcomed by various other States and provides the basis for the Nansen Initiative. The initiative of Norway and Switzerland aims to formulate a protection agenda to serve as the basis for concrete activities in the fields of prevention, protection and assistance during cross-border displacement, return and other permanent solutions for the period following a natural disaster.

Over the next three years the initiative will carry out a series of consultations with governments and representatives of civil society in regions which are particularly affected, on the basis of which a global dialogue will then be organised with a view to formulating a protection agenda. The Nansen Initiative will be headed by a steering group consisting of between six and eight States of the South and North under the chairmanship of Norway and Switzerland. Professor Walter Kälin, a well-known Swiss expert in human rights, has been proposed as envoy of the chairmanship. A consultative committee consisting of representatives of civil society and international organisations will assist the process. The Nansen Initiative is supported by a small secretariat based in Geneva. More

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Filed under SIDS