The Ecologist has been following events on the Cartaret Islands over the past couple of weeks. The whole population of 2,600 people is being re-located, in what is perhaps the first official climate change evacuation.
The tiny islands near Papua New Guinea have suffered from the encroaching sea levels for several years, with high tides poisoning the land with so much salt that agriculture is now impossible.
Over the next few weeks, as houses are completed on nearby Bougainville, the remaining population of the Cartarets will leave their homeland to the waves.
They may be the first climate change evacuation, but they will not be the last. Sea levels continue to rise a matter of millimetres a year, but even that is enough to threaten and overwhelm low-lying territories. The highest point in Tuvalu is only 4.5 metres above sea level, and the island is unlikely to bear its population very far into the 21st Century. The Maldives are in trouble too, and the president recently entered into negotiations to buy a new homeland for the entire country.
For all those who still believe that climate change isn’t happening, here’s your chance to invest. House prices on the Cartarets are to die for right now.