Australias Paruma Joins Pacific's 'Drowning Islands'

While Australia's politicians debate the so-called "inconvenient truth" of human-induced climate change, inhabitants of low-lying islands across the Pacific know climate change is very real if rising sea levels are any indication. One island within Australia's territorial waters is among those threatened by the rising sea. Poruma Island—formerly known as Coconut Island—is one of 274 islands in the Torres Strait archipelago, between Queensland and Papua and New Guinea. Part of the Diocese of Cairns, Poruma is home to 205 people who have traditionally lived by fishing. But Poruma is drowning. Rising sea levels, storm surges and salinity in its freshwater wells are making the island uninhabitable. When Dolly McGaughey last returned to her island home, the severity of erosion shocked her. "It has all been eaten up by the sea. The beautiful white beaches of my childhood have gone underwater. Some of the trees I knew then are gone," said McGaughey, a member of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Catholic Council.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The latest from america

In “Sorry to Bother You,” the system’s greatest threat—literal ownership of your time and person—is also its promise of relief.
Eve TushnetJuly 17, 2018
St. Michael Cathedral in Tha Rae, Thailand (iStock photo)
During the cave crisis, at the Cathedral of Saint Michael in Thare, a small village located along Nonghan Lake in northeastern Thailand’s Isaan region, Catholics offered Mass and asked for the intervention of St. Michael the Archangel to protect the young men.
The Catholic Church has renewed efforts to fight racism in the U.S., but Black Lives Matter deserves credit for keeping our attention on racial justice.
Olga SeguraJuly 17, 2018
What can the church do to help repent for the sins of leaders like Cardinal McCarrick and all those who turned a blind eye to his wrongdoing?
The EditorsJuly 17, 2018