Posted tagged ‘Pacific Islands’

Water is Rising

October 27, 2011

When I made my small writing “wave” in July about the beautiful flag of Kiribati, the Pacific island nation slowly disappearing because of global climate change, I did not expect to see that flag in “real” reality so soon, or to have an opportunity for a conversation with “real” people of Kiribati. Well, I did last Friday, October 21st, right here in Tucson when the Water is Rising project performers made a big “wave” at the University of Arizona Centennial Hall, which was filled with people of all ages. This unique artistic event was sponsored by UA Presents.

"UA Presents" flyer for "Water is Rising"

Fragment of UA Presents flyer

And what is the Water is Rising project? It is a project of the UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance in collaboration with the Foundation for World Arts. Water is Rising is produced and directed by Judy Mitoma, Director of the UCLA Center, who has worked with Pacific Island cultures for over thirty years and has a deep understanding of them. The goal of the project is to educate and to increase the sensitivity of the American public about global climate change and how it is affecting the Pacific atolls of Kiribati, Tokelau, Tuvalu and other Pacific Island nations.

Professor Mitoma conceived the Water is Rising project after the emotional plea made by officials from Tuvalu at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Those officials asked world leaders to acknowledge the effect global warming was having on their islands.

Indeed, there is scientific evidence that the Pacific atolls are at risk of becoming the first cultures on our planet to be submerged in ocean waters and… disappear. The irony is that powerful industrial countries like the USA have been contributing greatly to global warming (causing to the ocean waters to rise), but the highest price will be paid by the smallest countries like Tuvalu.

Fragment from “The World of Ours”
Composed by Kelemene (2011)

The world of ours
It is not steady, it keeps
moving
We worry about climate
change
Oi! My Tuvalu, what will
happen?
Will we float into the
ocean?

Listen to my tiny voice
Crying out for help
Hear our plea from
Tuvalu
Our low and small
Pacific home

Through Water is Rising the voices of Kiribati (population 100,000), Tuvalu (12,000) and Tokelau (1,500) can be heard. After three years of preparation, 36 selected artists from these countries are touring the USA — performing and conducting educational programs for all ages.

Please visit www.waterisrising.com to learn more about the project and global climate change. The schedule of the tour is posted on that website and if you have a chance, see a performance of Water is Rising.

* * *

First photo from UA Presents. Second and third photos from the website of Water is Rising. Text other than poem of Kelemene copyright © 2011 by Alicja Mann.


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