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Papua New Guinea - Island Of Malasiga - The Ocean Is Coming

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:06 PM
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Papua New Guinea - Island Of Malasiga - The Ocean Is Coming

In international climate talks, PNG and eight other rain forest countries have proposed that nations that reduce deforestation should be eligible to earn and sell "carbon credits." A carbon credit, which represents a ton of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere or prevented from burning, can be traded in international markets under terms set by the Kyoto Protocol--meaning, in theory, a farmer could make more money from saving his forest than razing it. Current rules allow countries to earn credits for planting new trees but not for protecting existing ones. "You want us to go down the path to sustainable forest management. Now give us the right incentive to do this," said Gunther Joku, a senior policy planner at PNG's Department of Environment and Conservation.

Whatever happens, it will probably be too late for Malasiga. The village sits on a small, flat peninsula jutting into the Solomon Sea. Drying turtle shells dangle in the wind, and children shinny up palm trees for coconuts. Some villagers have fled for higher ground, but most have not. They seem to know that when the history of the village is finally written, nobody will say they weren't warned. Yet they struggle to recognize the problems before them.

"I grew up here," said Aaron Mokedu, who is preparing to move the single-room thatched-roof home he shares with his wife and two sons. "But now the water comes up too far. It's not like before." Elders first noticed the rising water in 1982. It eroded the sand and bared the rocks beneath. Then it tugged down the palm trees beside the ocean's edge. Eventually it began lapping at the stilts that hold up their thin-walled homes. About five years ago, the highest tides swamped the village entirely for the first time anyone could recall.

A world away, other places are trying to hold back rising seas as well. A Dutch developer is selling "amphibious homes" built on pontoons. The German island of Sylt is reportedly coating its rocky shores with a polyurethane that it hopes will dampen erosion caused by waves and hurricanes. Here in Malasiga, they have a slightly lower-tech strategy: reclaiming land on the leeward side of the peninsula, one handful of dirt at a time. "When we sweep up, we put all the leaves and coconut shells and sand over here," Tarabi, the wood carver, said, studying the fragile brown sliver of land they had filled in behind their homes. He shrugged. "In 1997, some graduate students came and told us this was going to happen," he said, "And now it has happened."

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Bobbieo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:02 PM
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1. The ocean IS Coming!
and I'm very happy we sold our undeveloped beach property in Mexico several years ago.
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