Climate refugees forced to leave their homes - 9 Aug 2009  
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Climate refugees forced to leave their homes.
Approximately 800 of the remaining 2700 residents of the South Pacific’s Carteret Islands have begun moving
to Bougainville, the largest nearby island in Papua New Guinea. With their homes and livelihoods being destroyed by worsening floods and tide surges, the Pacific islanders are asking for help from the Australian government ahead of an upcoming Pacific Islands Forum summit.

Former Oxfam staff member and current head of the island’s evacuation efforts, Ursula Rakova of Carteret Islands said, “For us born there, we're losing everything: our identity, our culture, our connections to the islands, our whole life.”

Rafael Hagis: Carteret Island Clan Chief (Halia Language):The young people and the children have to leave. The older people like me have to decide if they want to stay. But personally I believe everyone should leave because we can no longer live on what is available here.

The 2,700 Carteret Islands residents are just a fraction of those being impacted by rising sea levels. Within four decades, at least 150 million people are expected to be displaced due to climate change, half of whom could be from the Asia-Pacific region.

We pray for all islanders enduring this hardship and permanent move from their ancestral homes.
Let us quickly unite to mitigate climate change and preserve such unique locations and their cultures. Saddened by the conditions they must endure, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the situation of environmental refugees during a November 2008 interview with Ireland’s East Coast Radio FM.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: If we don’t have global warming, then no one would be a climate refugee, would they? I ask everyone from the governments to the citizens to please imagine if that were yourself in the refugee’s situation, experiencing all these troubles – insecurities, hunger, lacking all comfort, humiliation, undignified situation, uncertain of the morrows of your future and the future of your helpless children. Just imagine it. Then try to solve this tragedy by helping in whatever way we can.

And above all, and most urgently of all, be veg, go green to save the planet, to prevent such trauma and to build a bright future for the world, for our co-citizens.

President Obama signs “Cash for Clunkers” US$2 billion funding.
Following Congressional approval, the US president signed a bill on Friday extending the initial program.
“Cash for Clunkers” offers auto buyers a rebate of US$3500-$4500 when they trade in old vehicles for more modern, eco-friendly models.

The program proved to be so popular that it went through an original US$1 billion allowance in the first week
of operation as people traded in the cars known as “gas guzzlers” to buy better mileage versions.
President Obama said, "Now, more American consumers will have the chance to purchase newer, more fuel efficient cars and the American economy will continue to get a much-needed boost." 

President Barack Obama: Thanks to quick bipartisan responses, we're doing everything possible to continue this program and to continue helping consumers and the auto industry contribute to our [economic] recovery.

Many thanks, Your Excellency and the supporting US Congress for encouraging citizens to switch to more resource-efficient vehicles that benefit both the environment and the economy. We look forward to their contribution to a cleaner and greener Earth.

Daily life activities a factor in global warming adaptation.
A new collaborative study published in the journal “Biological Reviews” by UK scientists Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford, Dr. Amanda Korstjens of Bournemouth University, and Dr. Julia Lehmann of Roehampton University, concludes that time spent in other necessary activities besides food foraging is an important factor in how well animals are able to survive climate change.

For example, species such as elephants, horses, dolphins and whales spend time interacting with others to maintain their communities. In turn, this means less time available to search for food that may already be scarcer in quantity because of the warming of the planet.

Our thanks, Professor Dunbar, Dr. Lehmann, Dr. Korstjens and associates for these insightful facts that show us how animals are trying to adapt to climate change within the limits of time. Let us help ensure their survival by speeding our own efforts to better care for this shared planetary home.

Extra News
South America’s Peruvian government is doubling the amounts paid to indigenous communities for every hectare of rainforest  that they are helping to preserve, an effort that is expected to better support both the environment and their economies.

 Scientists in the newly emerging field of biogeochemistry, which focuses on cycles of substances such as carbon or water, meet in New Mexico, USA and say that the Earth’s natural processes are being significantly thrown off balance by human-impacted global climate change.

India allocates US$200 million for a plan to help address climate change by restoring unique vegetation and increasing forest coverage from 65 million to 71 million hectares within six years.