Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Villagers blame climate change for Solomon Is vanished reef cemetery

From: Radio Australia News

Mon, 23 Mar 2009

A reef-top cemetery in Solomon Islands has been destroyed in what villagers say is clear evidence of the effects of climate change.
Villagers in Temotu Province say they have seen the effects in the Reef Islands, a group of 16 small coral islands 80 kilometres from Santa Cruz island, in eastern Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reports an entire cemetery at Tuo village, Fenualoa Island, has been washed away by waves.
The villagers say the destruction was carried out by a rise in sea levels which has happened gradually over the past few years.
Tuo village community leader, Ezekiel Nodua, told the broadcaster the only remains of the graves are broken pieces of cement scattered over a wide area of off-shore reef.
The reef at high tide now becomes submerged by the sea.
Mr Nodua says the people of Tuo village now bury their dead beside their homes, because they no longer have a community cemetery to bury their dead.
The densely populated islands have been known to be previously subject to tidal surges caused by cyclones and volcanic activity.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Climate change threatens Channel Islands artifacts

From The Modesto Bee

By ALICIA CHANG - AP Science Writer

SAN MIGUEL ISLAND, Calif. -- Perched on the edge of this wind-swept Southern California island, archaeologist Jon Erlandson watches helplessly as 6,600 years of human culture - and a good chunk of his career - is swallowed by the Pacific surf.

It was not long ago that this tip of land on the northwest coast cradling an ancient Chumash Indian village stretched out to sea. But years of storm surge and roiling waves have taken a toll. The tipping point came last year when a huge piece broke off, drowning remnants of discarded abalone, mussel and other shellfish that held clues to an ancient human diet.

"There's an enormous amount of history that's washing into the sea every year," Erlandson said matter-of-factly during a recent hike. "We literally can't keep up."

The sea has long lashed at the Channel Islands, also known as the North American Galapagos - stripping away beaches, slicing off cliff faces and nibbling at hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cultural relics.

Past coastal erosion for the most part was a natural phenomenon, but the problem is feared to grow worse with human-caused global warming and higher sea levels.

In a race against time and a rising tide, Erlandson and other keepers of history are hurrying to record and save eroding artifacts, which hold one of the earliest evidence for human seafaring in the Americas.

"We're just hoping there's something left," he said.