Anders Bekeken

IDFA 2011 Green Documentary: The Hungry Tide

Geschreven op 2-11-2011 - Erik van Erne. Geplaatst in Communicatie, Klimaat Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Hungry tideThe central Pacific nation of Kiribati is one of the countries in the world most vulnerable to climate change. Sea level rise and increasing salinity are threatening the lives of 105,000 people spread over 33 atolls in this remote corner of the Pacific. It’s the same ocean, which for generations has sustained the country that is now the source of its destruction.

Maria Tiimon, originally from Kiribati, now lives in Sydney, where she works for an NGO raising awareness of climate change issues in the Pacific to schools and community groups. Her spiritual home however is the small Kiribati atoll of Beru. This is where her father lives, a proud village elder, whom Maria idolizes. The family relies a lot on Maria to help them out financially, as does her brother and his 8 kids living on the overcrowded main atoll of Tarawa. Maria has to balance these many pressures with her important work of taking her sinking nation’s message to the world.

Maria travels to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (COP15) as a member of an NGO delegation. In a dramatic week, low-lying Island States led by Kiribati’s smaller neighbour Tuvalu, push for a new legally binding treaty. The treaty requires all nations – not only the west, but also the emerging economies of India and China, to agree on carbon emission reductions to keep global temperature from rising above 1.5C. However evidence emerges of pressure applied by Australian officials on the Pacific nations to withdraw their bid and it ends up being scuttled.

Meanwhile back in Kiribati stormy weather has caused major damage. Part of a seawall protecting an entire community has been swept away. The President, the urbane Anote Tong, is acutely aware of these problems, but his government doesn’t have the resources to fix them. Relocation, he believes, is inevitable. He doesn’t want his people to become climate change refugees, but people who move ‘with dignity’. Tong wants his young people to go overseas, learn new skills and put down roots – in preparation for a mass migration. As it so happens, the first guest workers have just arrived in Australia and Maria has the task of monitoring their progress. Although they earn 3 times what their President earns back in Kiribati, life is not as rosy as it first appears. They are isolated and cut off from the local community.

IDFA 2011: Competition for Best Green Screen Documentary

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