Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Anote's Ark

Wow, I did't realise how long it had been since I last blogged. Things have been busy, including starting a Masters degree looking at a biblical hermeneutic for the Anthropocene, and writing two books. More of that later. Last night I went to the Melbourne screening of Anote's Ark.



Anote Tong is the former president of Kiribati, a collection of coral atolls in the western Pacific. He often describes Kiribati as being the centre of the world, since the islands are located on both sides of the equator and the dateline. He has been a tireless campaigner on climate change since taking office, and afterwards, even now the new government have taken a big (and sadly poorly theologically informed) step away from his policies.

This excellent documentary shows a true statesman, who while acknowledging that even 1.5 C of warming wont save his home in the longer term, it will make a difference in the short term for his country, and in the longer term for others. This is the conclusion too of a recent IPCC report on a 1.5 C world.

The documentary also follows a young family who choose to start a new life in New Zealand under a migration program (Australia take note). Sermery leaves home to raise funds for the rest of her family to join here in New Zealand. Watching her go through six months without her children was hard to take. We have the privilege of seeing her have a child in her new home, marking a new phase in their lives, but a phase that signals the slow end to their unique culture.

As Anote reminds us, the people of Kiribati are the canary in the coal mine. If we do not act, their present will be our future. What is all the more galling for me is that Australia continues to do little for the people of Kiribati. The Prime Minister is calling into question commitment to the Green Climate Fund which is designed to help nations like Kiribati to adapt to climate change. Funny how under colonisation we were happy to take their phosphate cheaply in the past, much like Nauru. I guess Kiribati is too far away for offshore detention? Love your neighbour as yourself.

The event was put on by the Environmental Film Festival Australia. Well worth your time and patronage.


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