Tulun: Too Late?
The tiny islands of Tulun and Takuu off the coast of Papua New Guinea are being swallowed by the Pacific Ocean, posing a danger so immediate that their 2,400 residents are being urged to evacuate at once. The islands, also known as Carteret and Mortlock, could become victims of global warming, which is thought to fuel the rising sea levels that threaten to drown them. The government of Papua New Guinea has sent emergency food supplies to the islands, because local crops are being inundated by salt water, leaving residents to live on coconuts and fish. Government officials are encouraging the islanders to move to the nearby island of Bougainville, but they acknowledge the solution is not ideal. The islanders are Polynesian, whereas residents of Bougainville are Melanesians, and many fear that when the people of Tulun and Takuu leave their homelands, their unique culture will disappear.