The National Trusts Organisation and the International Polar Foundation presented on Culture on the Move: Sea Level Rise, Cultural Heritage and Climate Mobility, at the UN COP 22, Marrakech – When communities are displaced by climate change, we discover the many ways in which cultural heritage intersects with climate mobility.
Oliver Maurice, the director of Membership of the National Trusts Organisation, speaks of the key factors of global warming: retreating glaciers, melting ice in the arctic regions, and the expansion of sea water. The effects of rising sea levels include coastal erosion and frequent flooding on islands which have resulted in the abandonment of homes and, consequently, cultural heritage.
Maurice stresses that these issues are an incredibly worrying threat to the developing world, and also stresses the need to memorialise cultural grounds that have been ruined.
Maurice also speaks about a survey in which 60% of participants mentioned increases in rainfall and sea level rise as vital issues with regard to global warming. Another issue mentioned was the apathy of the governments and their reluctance to implement long-term solutions.
> A video depicting the dangers of sea level rise in Kiribati, an island in the central Pacific, is shown.
> Sara Penrhyn Jones from the Troubled Waters Research Project (AHRC) speaks of the importance of maintaining cultural heritage.
> Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, speaks of possible adaptation strategies such as building up the island, building floating islands or migration.
> Teweiariki Tearo, Scholar and Artist in Kiribati speaks further about heritage and relations between the people of Kiribati.
> Pelenise Alofa from the University of the South Pacific, talks about looking after the land that they have inherited from their ancestors; land that was fought for and land that should be passed on to future generations.
> Claire Anterea Tangaroa from the Kiribati Climate Action Network and Natan Itonga; a Cultural Officer from the Cultural Centre and Museum of Kiribati, both continue to explain the importance of their cultural histories. They feel a sense of belonging and dignity in their land ownership. Fishing and coconut collection are activities that they rely on every day.
Relocation is viewed as not only a last resort – but a Disaster!