Sunday, October 04, 2009

rod quantock, oxfam and climate change

Last night I went along to Rod Quantock’s show Bugger the Polar Bears, This is Serious, a fundraiser for the Dandenong Ranges branch of Oxfam. Oxfam spoke about the Sisters on the Planet campaign and showed the plight of Ursula from the Carteret Islands in the Pacific. The islands are being inundated due to sea level rise and Ursula is actively seeking higher ground on behalf of her community.

Rod Quantock's show, although hilarious, addressed the very serious matter of climate change. Rod took us on a riotous journey including an interactive time scale from the big bang through to today, a sample of the mainstream media and climate science in a way only he can. He also shared his passion for passionfruit sponges, only wish I had one to give him!

The Carterets are a small group of islands off Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. The community has built sea walls and planted mangrove trees, but they cannot stop the erosion from eating away the shoreline and destroying their gardens. “We have lost our staple food crop, which is swamp taro. We can grow a bit of bananas, but that’s also going down,” Ursula explains.

Islanders are surviving on fish and coconut. Ursula’s people are being forced to migrate, but she is determined they will have a place to go where their culture and dignity are preserved. She has set up an organisation called Tulele Peisa, or “Sailing the waves on
our own”, to coordinate the relocation. They have secured land in the Tinputz district of Bougainville and are moving forward with plans to build houses.

Ursula’s story highlights the need for urgent action to address our ever increasing rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Rod’s show did the same thing too, in a very funny, yet serious way.

We cannot sit back, we all need to act to ensure those in power know we demand action now, our children’s very existence depends on it.

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