ABOUT a fortnight ago, the learned people of the International Panel on Climate Change, a committee set up by the United Nations to review the effects of global warming, informed us that global warming is now not just a notion.
It’s real and some of its effects are irreversible.
Substantial studies by scientists worldwide have proved this beyond reasonable doubt. It is sobering information to say the least.
Not everyone took this report seriously, especially the very rich who more or less control the global economy.
Unfazed, they rubbished the report and sanctioned an “independent” study using their own “eminent” and “learned” experts who will dismiss the scientific data as being a sinister plot by the United Nations to regulate global trade or somesuch.
At home in Oro, we experienced severe winds that blacked out the township of Popondetta for several hours and caused panic amongst the townsfolk. Winds destroyed a school in Kokoda and rising sea levels continued to make coastal communities nervous.
Many people reported an inexplicable sense of danger and anxiety. Waves raged, winds whipped coconut palms, creatures nervously moved about….
But most of the world carried on in complete ignorance of the battle between the scientists of the UN and those contracted by the ruling class of the corporate world.
Ignorance went about its business, stumbling along, infecting ordinary people with the need to consume, urging them to pay for things they don’t need and making extraordinarily rich people much richer than they need to be.
Somewhere in a tiny Pacific country - in Collingwood Bay in fact, home of the New Guinea singing dog, the birdwing butterfly and other amazing creatures - people gathered around a fireplace and spoke of their concerns for their rainforest and the creatures that live in it.
The night was quiet save for crickets and the occasional night bird. These people were fighting a battle against corporate giants and their selfish agents who intend to take away 300,000 hectares of forest and plant oil palm.
These determined people stood up to fight and fight they did. Engaging a lawyer and raising funds and joining hands with their political leader, they took the matter to court - and won every battle along the way.
The oil palm giant involved threw substantial monies to prime lawyers as they strived to reinforce their wrong by claiming it was right.
In Collingwood Bay, where people own a share of the world’s third largest rainforest, complete with exotic flora and fauna of immensely breathtaking beauty, they go about their uncomplicated lives in an increasing complex world with little notion of events worldwide.
On a night when the moon shone bright, they told their simple stories unimpaired by materialism. No power, no internet, barely a network for mobile phones.
No distraction as they sat contentedly sipping sweet black tea and laughing at outrageous tales told by the village entertainer. The fire danced and crackled and several dogs snuggled close, enjoying the heat and the company. The melody of waves softly caressed the black beach.
The villagers discussed their dreams of growing cocoa on a portion of the land while preserving the rest and talked of how they wished for a tractor so that could transport their cash crop to the small jetty several hours away.
And how, when they sold the cops, they would purchase salt, soap and other essentials before they fled the township with its noise and madness and angry looking people.
Several thousand kilometers away on the Carteret Islands in Bougainville, the atoll’s remaining citizens laid their weary heads to sleep. Each night a treasure as they prepared to leave a home that is disappearing under a rising sea.
Many had already been transported to the mainland where they were resettled on government land.
They are the first refugees from the rising sea but are certainly not the last. The entire nation of Maldives has already planned for that day, purchasing land in Singapore and Australia to resettle their people within 30 years when their low flat tropical island will be remembered only in history.
Parents put their children to sleep, tuck them in, switch off lights and lamps, snuff out candles and kiss the soft cheeks unaware of the possibility of a world imploding, leaving behind a small blue planet still reflecting the sun’s light in an eternal darkness.
Perhaps in the night sky we have seen a light shine from such a world where people once lived and thrived. Somewhere far, far away where there is existence no more.
Gary Juffa MP is Governor of Oro province. The painting is his