The Earth Charter environmental group celebrated its 10th anniversary in Brisbane today.
The Charter focuses on climate change and world harmony but it was the threat of global warming to islands in Papua New Guinea that garnered attention.
Annabelle Carter reports.
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Climate change and environmental specialists converged on Brisbane today aiming to spread international awareness of the effects of climate change.
This year the hot topic for discussion at the event was the Cateret Islands off the east coast of Papua New Guinea which are drowning under rising sea levels.
Ursula Rakova CEO of Tulele Peisa, the operation to transfer the three thousand Carteret Islanders to neighbouring Bougainville, says the situation is detrimental.
Ursula Rakova, CEO Tulele Peisa, “Much of the land that we used to grow our food is now under water. We can now paddle canoes over those areas where we used to plant our food crops.”
Experts have estimated the island will be uninhabitable by the year 2015.
Ursula Rakova, CEO Tulele Peisa: “We have not comtited a crime against anyone. Yet we are suffering the consequences of other people’s actions.”
The Papua New Guinean government has not yet intervened on the relocation of the three thousand Cateret Islanders. The issue may instead fall on the shoulders of the Australian Government.
Dr Ian Lowe, President Australian Conservation Foundation: “As the largest per capita contributors to climate change in the world we have a particular moral responsibility for the environmental refugees that we’re helping to create.”
The immediate challenge now is to secure housing and education for the islanders when they move to Bougainville.
Annabelle Carter, QUT News.