Climate change blues: sustaining village life in Tonga

Brown Pulu, TJ
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Te Ara Poutama, AUT University

The loss of small island states will affect us all. Climate change refugees will become a very serious issue for all countries.

Lord Ma’af

On the afternoon of December 15th 2009, Tonga’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Lord Ma’afu, made a passionate plea to the international press assembled at the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. He had a message he wanted to get out to the world. Politically, Ma’afu awoke a subconscious fear developed countries stepped around not wanting to stir and be forced to deal with. Snared in the small island uncertainty of rising sea levels was the inevitability climate change refugees might need another place to live (Bedford and Bedford, 2010; Fagan, 2013). Where would they go? Who would take them in? What countries would help the Pacific Islands?

Despite sociologists and political scientists documenting the failure of global governance to deliver a legally binding agreement for controlling climate change (Giddens, 2009; Held and Hervey, 2009; Fisher, 2004), alternatives put forward have not been taken up. What other methods for governing over bad weather are there? (Goldin, 2013). And how is village life in Tonga coping with climate blues?

Te Kaharoa - The e-Journal on Indigenous Pacific Issues, vol.6(1), pp.260 - 305
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Te Kaharoa is a free-access, multi-disciplinary, refereed, e-journal focusing on indigenous Pacific issues.