A good example of the drastic effect of Climate Change can be seen in Airara village in the Collingwood Bay or Oro Province.
The sea level has risen dramatically and the heat waves are more intense forcing local villagers to move inland leaving behind their once beautiful beach shore village.
Seventy-year-old Cecil Aburin, who was once a postmaster of the Southern Region recalled his early days; “Airara always had the cleanest and beautiful beaches in the whole of Collingwood Bay. I would always boast about my small village in the Bay during my travels and work experience. But I can sadly say now, it’s not the same anymore.”
He said his people have now moved inland because they can’t live there anymore. Mr. Aburin said that their catches at sea have decreased, crops have decreased in size and cases of both human and plant diseases have increased.
Papua New Guinean environmental organization, Partners With Melanesians (PWM) have been working with the people in various communicates. In Airara, their focus has been on empowering local communities to make informed decisions regarding the use of their natural environment.
Partners With Melanesians recently had a joint planning meeting with representatives from the Proposed Collingwood Bay Conservation Foundation (CWBCF) in Airara Village from the 26th of April to the 3rd of May.
“I commend Partners With Melanesians in taking this stand with the people of Collingwood Bay to conserve our land. Collingwood Bay is beautiful and its time we realise that and preserve our land for our future generations. This will in a long run also help in mitigating the effects of climate change,” Mr. Aburin said.
He said he’d like to be around when Collingwood Bay gets declared as a Conservation or Protected Area.
“I hope this day will come soon, because I don’t know how long I will be around. I have my fair share of stories to tell about Airara and I want my children and grandchildren too to also have their own stories to tell one day in beautiful Collingwood Bay.”
- Author, Veronica Aure, is the Communications Coordinator for Partners with Melanesia, A Papua New Guinean NGO.