Climate Change and Human Rights

What I admire most about Seacology's work is that we help both island environments and island peoples. As an anthropology major, it has always been clear to me that what I value most in this world is the cultures of people--their social systems, family structures, arts, food, customs. Of course I know how important the land, sea, flora, and fauna are, but I recognize that I was attracted to Seacology because the organization works directly with people--to preserve their cultures, improve their communities, and protect their ecosystems.

Children of Sila Village, Fiji.JPGSo I was delighted to read that the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a study to examine the impact of climate change on human experience. The Maldives, Fiji, and Tuvalu were among those island nations that brought this proposal to the Human Rights Council. The decision promotes the same kind of culturally-aware environmentalism as Seacology's projects and is a landmark decision that will elevate the attention to climate change and all its effects.
Sulawesi marine reserve.JPGBoth the International Herald and Reuters offered background on the UN's decision. The Associated Press noted that global warming will force island people to become "stateless people who have nowhere to go, no government to protect them or to deliver basic services." Laura MacInnis of Reuters writes, "Experts say global warming could cause rising sea levels and intense storms, droughts and floods which would restrict access to housing, food and clean water for millions of people." Both articles report the news of the study and capture the emotions of remote island peoples in the unique position of understanding the acute threats of rising sea levels.

At Seacology, humanitarianism and environmentalism are inextricably linked, and the United Nations Human Rights study is a triumph in promoting the critical relationship between the environment and the people.

Photo details: Above left are children in the Fijian village of Sila at the opening ceremony of their new community center. (Photo courtesy of Paul Cox) Above right is Pinasungkulan Village's 98-acre no-take mangrove and coral reef reserve off Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of Arnaz Mehta)



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This page contains a single entry by Ellen Kamoe published on April 21, 2008 9:00 AM.

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