Online Media That Matters Film Fest Features Climate Change Refugees

Pacific Island Blue Ocean Losing Land Photo

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The ninth annual Media That Matters film fest opens online this week and we were lucky enough to get a sneak preview at one of the entries - The Next Wave. Each of the films are meant to inspire and bring to light very pressing issues that face groups around the world. First up, climate change refugees - they're not just a theory anymore.The Next Wave, produced and directed by Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger, begins by stating that by the year 2050 over 250 million people will be forced to relocate due to climate change. This means leaving their ancestral land, their friends, their family, everything and start life over somewhere else because climate change has made their land unlivable (they will soon be unable to grow food) and shortly nonexistent. (In fact, just recently the first wave of Carterets moved off the island).

The film focuses on the Carteret Islanders and their current search for new land. "Most of our culture will have to live in memory," states Ursula Rakova, Relocation Leader for the Carteret Islanders. You watch as several islanders attempt to make connections with communities on the mainland to potentially join those communities. It breaks your heart to watch this community know they are going to lose their culture and then to meet hostility upon hostility from other communities.

The Carteret Islanders are not the only people affected, as even when I went down to Peru with Green Living Project this past spring we saw evidence of communities having to relocate as the banks and shorelines were continually pushing them further and further back. The biggest shame is that the folks who have some of the smallest carbon emissions are the ones who are forced to take on the largest burdens due to climate change. The Carterets for example live without cars, electricity or running water. Watching this film, knowing what this very small community is going through, and also knowing that millions of people on islands and in coastal communities will soon have to find new land and new cultures, one is forced to wonder just how established communities will react to all of the new refugees. Will there be increased problems? Will new members be openly accepted or will they be thought of as a lower class of people? What will happen to languages and cultural traditions as more and more refugees assimilate into new societies?

The Media That Matters film fest will be available online starting June 4, 2009 and you can see all 12 films for free. June 3, the Media that Matters film fest will kick off with screenings in New York City and tickets for that event are on sale now on the website.:Media That Matters
More on Climate Change Refugees
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Expert Warns of Growing Wave of Mexican Environmental Refugees
500,000 People Will Die Every Year From Climate Change by 2030: New Report Projects Human Cost of Inaction
Indigenous Climate-Affected Communities Using Film to Highlight Plight & Solutions

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