Meltdown Fiji - Kabara, a remote Pacific island - Witness
From: Witness

Meltdown Fiji

Climate change is cause for serious concern on the idyllic island of Kabara.

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Director: Tanya Peterson

Kabara, a remote Pacific island, is a picture-postcard image: white, sandy beaches framed by palm trees and tranquil blue waters. Its 400 or so inhabitants appear to live a life of unhurried self-sufficiency. But this tiny island could be running out of time.

Penina Moce, like all Kabarans, lives by a simple rule: if you don’t catch it or grow it, the chances are you won’t eat. But here, where seafood was once so plentiful, Penina now struggles to catch enough fish to feed her family; and her husband Sireli’s vegetable garden now lies barren.

Professor Randy Thaman, an expert on Pacific Islands biogeography, suspects the impacts of climate change.

It’s hard for Penina not to worry about their ever-decreasing resources, and she fears that her children and grand-children may have to pay a heavy price one day. Already, many of the islands young have moved away from Kabara in favour of some of Fiji’s more developed islands.

Storms, tidal waves and droughts have been increasing. When droughts occur, the villagers depend on coconut juice. But even many of the coconuts have been falling unripe from their brittle branches.

Penina and her fellow villagers remain resourceful. But they are beginning to worry that if things continue in this way, the island on which they have always depended may eventually become uninhabitable.