Climate Change in the Islands and the Highlands: Melanesian Manifestations, Experiences and Actions
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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Original versionIn: Hirsch, Rollason W. The Melanesian World, 2019. Routledge p. 517-531
Pacific Islanders have often been portrayed as ‘helpless victims’ in the popular media because they suffer the consequences of climate changes mainly caused by other, larger nations. In terms of media attention and sheer urgency, however, it is predominantly Oceania’s low-lying atolls that find themselves on the ‘climate change frontline’. Climate change is both a set of environmental phenomena, experienced local reality, and a global political discourse. Anthropologists who work in Melanesia, whether in highlands or islands, find themselves in a situation where direct local experiences of the effects of global climate change are integral to the fieldwork. An account of environmental observations and perceptions of climate change in the Marovo Lagoon of the western Solomon Islands follows, based on several years of fieldwork from 1986. The political background for the rise of Melanesian ambition and influence on the global climate-change scene is firmly connected to various arenas provided by the United Nations.